Clarity re: recent mirrorless BCN numbers

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
Flat view
Jonathan Brady
Jonathan Brady Veteran Member • Posts: 6,720
Clarity re: recent mirrorless BCN numbers


I want to start by saying that I personally feel like this is just a couple of data points and is simply a "neat to know" bit of information. In my personal opinion:

  • The mirrorless market has just experienced an enormous disruption with the introduction of Nikon and Canon's mirrorless cameras and lenses.
    • As with most photographic gear, there's always a "pre-order" list and as a result sales numbers in the first couple of weeks are often quite high and then level off as those orders are fulfilled. We'll have to wait and see if that's the case here.
    • The Canon EOS R and Nikon Z7 are at dramatically different price points which absolutely factors into sales volume (and thus, market share).
    • In Japan, Canon is offering the EOS R as a body only product while Nikon is only offering the Z7 as a bundle (at least as far as I can tell from these numbers). This effectively makes entry into the Z system (Z7 + 24-70) about twice as expensive as entry into the R system (R + adapter) in Japan. Again, the price point necessarily impacts sales volume which impacts market share.
  • In the past year, we've seen the introduction of, what many consider to be, Sony's first near-universally usable FF cameras with the introduction of the A7RIII (released in November 2017) and A7III (released in April 2018). We've also seen Nikon officially discontinue the 1 line (July 2018).
  • Due to the above changes, looking at the numbers I'm going to share is relatively close to be meaningless because unit volume is missing. "Market share" is more helpful in a relatively static market and the mirrorless market is anything but over the past 12 months.
  • In the coming months we'll see:
    • 2 FF cameras from Panasonic
    • Possibly an A7SIII from Sony
    • Possibly a camera (or more) from Sigma
    • Possibly another camera from Canon
  • This data is supplied by BCN which evaluates sales in Japan. On BCN's website, there's no reference (that I could find) of what percentage of sales they evaluate in the interchangeable lens camera market. The only statement from BCN that I found was at the bottom of the article that I pulled this information from and it read:
    • "BCN ranking" is a real sales database collecting and collecting actual sales data of personal computer main body, digital home appliances etc. from major household appliance mass merchants / net shops nationwide every day, It covers about 40% of the market (in the case of personal computers).
    • I'm not sure if personal computers represents an average amount of data or their best case scenario. I'd bet on the latter as most companies like to put their best foot forward.

All that said, my suggestion is to not read too much into any of this information. We need MUCH more time and much more data (ie, worldwide sales) to come to any conclusions about market position. To make any conclusions (or even predictions) about "success" or "failure", we need to know the forecasted sales numbers worldwide which we'll never have. Literally only time will tell us this.

So, here we go...

BCN made this chart...

This led many to (incorrectly) state that the Canon EOS R had taken the number 1 FF mirrorless camera title in only 2 weeks. Here are those same numbers presented in a different way...

As you can see, there are 4 different combinations for the Sony A7III and when those are totaled up, the A7III has a market share in the FF mirrorless camera market that BCN evaluates in Japan for a VERY short period of time of 38.4% versus the EOS R at 22.1%. These 10 cameras and camera bundles add up to 88.7% meaning 11.3% are unaccounted for. I do believe there are other Nikon Z7 bundles available as BCN also stated that Nikon had a 10.4% market share but as we can see above, only 5% was captured in the top 10 sellers. There are also other FF mirrorless cameras such as the A9 and Leica's offerings divvying up the remaining 11.3%.

BCN also posted this:

This chart gives the impression that Sony's sales are falling because they're losing market share. However, this is incredibly misleading (at first glance) because this is simply looking at market share, and not sales volume. Consider this pizza analogy:

  • For years, Sony has been eating pizza (FF MILC camera market share) by itself (with Leica reaching across the table and snagging a single pepperoni every now and then). They've essentially had an entire pizza to themselves. Let's say it's a 12" pizza.
  • With Canon and Nikon joining the market, the 12" pizza Sony has been eating is now a 16" pizza and the three of them are sharing it.
  • Without knowing actual sales VOLUME (units sold and the BCN data only tells us about a fraction of the sales and only in Japan), we don't know if Sony is eating less total pizza, the same amount of pizza, or more pizza. All we know is that Nikon and Canon are also now eating pizza, and we know what percentage of that new pizza they're eating. But, volume (and sales price and profit) matters more than market share when it comes to measuring success.

Finally, there's this data from BCN...

This looks at the mirrorless ILC market as a whole (some percentage of sales in Japan, again) to see which formats are "winning" and losing".

The original article was written in Japanese and Google translate didn't provide a crystal clear interpretation of the numbers. After reading through it a few times, I think I figured it out and I did my best to make it easier to understand.

First of all, I know that the blue line is APSC mirrorless cameras. I also know (from the article) that the green line is FF mirrorless cameras. I believe that the red line represents m43 (fairly certain) and the purple line represents 1" (I'm 50/50 on this).

With respect to the first two groups of bar graphs, this is a comparison of MARKET SHARE from October 2017 vs October 2018. Here's the exact same information as I'm presenting it...

This data is exactly the same but I added "YoY MS Change" (Year over Year Market Share Change).

As above, this chart does NOT factor volume into the equation (aka, how big the pizza is). It only looks at market share. What we see is that APSC and FF are capturing more of the mirrorless market SHARE at the expense of (if I'm correct) m43 and 1". I assume the market is bigger now than it was last October.

Here's the data from the other half of the BCN graph which shows a comparison of VALUE from October 2017 to October 2018 in the mirrorless market.

What this shows is that the VALUE (aka, sales price) of the mirrorless market is changing. Like above, this doesn't factor whether the value of the entire market went up (ie, did the same pizza cost more a year later), it only evaluated where the money came from.

If this were pizza, such an evaluation would tell a store owner where the money is coming from. In 2017, about half of the money the store made came from medium pizzas, about 37% came from small pizzas, about 8% came from large pizzas, and about 5% came from personal pizzas. One year later, much less money is coming from small pizza and much more money is coming from large pizzas and in fact, the only pizza which is contributing a greater percentage of money to the store is large pizzas. All of this says nothing about how much total money the pizza store made.

I'd like to reiterate that given the state of the camera market overall, none of this data is worth coming to ANY sort of conclusion about because we're talking about "share", not volume. Some may want to draw a conclusion about m43 as they appear to be the biggest loser and something that startling can't be ignored, right? But again, we're talking about SHARE, NOT VOLUME (in a percentage of sales, in Japan). It's quite possible that volume of m43 is shrinking, stable, or even increasing. We also don't know what the sales targets are and whether they're falling short, hitting them, or exceeding them. We just don't know based on this data. The same with the perceived success or failure of the EOS R or Nikon Z. So, again, make ZERO conclusions about this data other than "it's neat to see" or something like that.

To make this data useful, we need to see:

  • a worldwide picture (or at least one representing the top 3-5 markets in the world)
  • volume
  • the data cover a longer and stable (in terms of new system introductions) period of time
  • DSLR numbers as those cameras still represent greater volume over a stable time period than MILC (for now)
  • Sales forecasts from each company

I hope this info and breakdown was helpful!

Flat view
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow