Modest growth hints that the worst of the camera collapse is over
It might not be much, but the latest industry figures from trade body CIPA suggest the camera market may have finally bottomed-out.
Shipments of digital cameras with built-in lenses were flat, compared with the same period in 2016. This may not sound positive, but it comes after 21 consecutive quarters of year-on-year sales declines. On top of this, the value of these shipments was up by 7%, compared with the the same period last year.
Meanwhile, shipments of interchangeable lens cameras are up, compared to Q1 2016, with 6% more cameras shipping and the value of those shipments increasing by 14%. Mirrorless cameras make up a historic high proportion of these sales, and now account for 36% of all the ILCs shipped, though they make up only 25.6% of the value of those shipments, suggesting the average selling price of a mirrorless camera is lower than that of a DSLR.
Although there is a chance that some of this (comparatively) positive news stems from camera makers finally being able to satisfy the pent-up demand that had built up following 2016's earthquake, the increased average selling price of fixed lens cameras can only be good news.
However, to put it into context, although ILC sales are 34% down, compared to the same period five years ago (though only 15% down in terms of value), cameras with built-in lenses are down 84% by volume. And, while every manufacturer says it's focusing on the higher margin end of the compact market, it's going to be difficult for all the current camera makers to get their fill of a pie that's so much smaller than it was.
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