Canon has released its financial results for the second quarter of its 2021 fiscal year (Q2 FY2021), revealing better-than-expected performance, particularly within its imaging division.

The data In its investor relations presentation shows Canon’s consumer camera division pulled in 112.1B yen ($1B) in net camera sales—more than double its 55.7B yen ($500M) in sales in the same quarter last year. Granted, Q2 FY2020 was when COVID-19 was hitting much of the world the hardest, this recovery is even better than Canon expected.

This increase is also visible in Canon’s operating profit. In Q2 FY2020, Canon’s imaging business has an operating loss of 20.8B yen ($189M); in Q2 FY2021 it saw an operating profit of 20.9B yen ($190M).

Canon says sales of its EOS R5 and R6 mirrorless cameras have had a dramatic impact on its financial performance in the first half of 2021.

As we reported on earlier this month, Canon’s imaging business recovery has been so strong in the first half of 2021 that it’s revised its full FY2021 outlook to account for the better-than-expected sales. Previously, Canon said it was expecting its imaging business to yield 393B yen ($3.57B) in net sales throughout FY2021, but it’s upped that figure by 9.6% to 430.9B yen ($3.9B).

Canon attributes this growth to strong sales of its EOS R5 and R6 mirrorless cameras and has raised its full-year outlook ‘to reflect solid demand.’ Canon specifically references its growing RF lens lineup, which it says will be the ‘driver’ of growth in its full-year outlook.

Inventory levels within Canon’s imaging division have also proven to be steady throughout the first half of FY2021, with 54 days being the average turnaround time for camera and lens units. Canon says this is due to strong sales, but it’s clear from the Q&A portion of the financial results that chip shortages are also hamstringing the supply chain. When asked why its camera sales are more or less the same in Q2 FY2020 as Q1 FY 2021, Canon says 'If it weren't for the semiconductor shortage, we could sell even more.' That said, this rate of growth likely won’t be sustainable going forward.

While the EOS R5 and R6 are 'doing very well,' Canon says it isn't expecting the 'camera market to recover significantly' and doesn't 'expect to return to the past situation where unit sales steadily increased [year-over-year].' Instead, Canon says it hopes to 'maintain the current level of sales by focusing on high-quality cameras for advanced amateurs, whose hobby is imaging, and professionals.'

Canon also notes in its Q&A that 'higher factory utilization rates' contributed to the profitability of its imaging division and as the global economy continues to recover, 'front-loaded demand' for its cameras will enable Canon to 'sell without significant discounting and spending much on sales promotion.'

Going forward, Canon says it expects the interchangeable-lens digital camera market ‘to increase slightly compared with the previous year’ and says it ‘will strengthen the competitiveness of its full-frame mirrorless cameras and interchangeable lenses while reinforcing sales promotion efforts amid a shift to mirrorless cameras and improving the product mix.’

You can find all of Canons Q2 FY2021 presentation materials on its investor relations website.