The number of cameras made and shipped by manufacturers continues to grow, spelling some positive news for the photo industry. Although the total number of digital still cameras produced in May by members of the Camera and Imaging Products Association was only up by 4.1% in April, the difference over May 2016 was an impressive 42.2%—and by value 38.9%.

Compact camera and interchangeable lens camera shipments grew by much the same amount, but within the interchangeable lens sector almost two and a half times more mirrorless cameras were produced than last May, while DSLRs grew by only 12.1%.

By value, production of DSLRs was flat on last year and mirrorless up by 160%, but the number of DSLRs produced is still well ahead of compact system cameras—628,336 units as compared to just 387,287.

May 2017 figures still fell short of 2015 (the dotted purple line), but far outpaced May of 2016 (the solid black line).

The association’s figures show that the value of cameras shipped in May was up by 54.5% on the same month last year, with the compact system sector growing by over 200%. While the number of units shipped has also grown, these figures demonstrate a (predictable) movement towards higher priced cameras across the whole industry, and particularly in the mirrorless category.

The mirrorless bug seems to be quickly catching on in the USA, with the region showing value growth of 390%, but the actual number of models shipped still lags behind Europe and Asia. America seems to have a taste for the more expensive mirrorless models though, with a mean pre-tax price of around $720 per camera compared to $480 in Europe, $500 in Japan and $470 in Asia.

For more information see the CIPA website and our report on April 2017 figures.