Photo by Federico Bottos

The February CIPA report has been published, and overall, it's still not a pretty picture for the digital camera industry. According to the Japanese agency, overall digital stills camera shipments worldwide were down 26.6% compared to the same month last year.

The CIPA report shows overall digital camera shipments remained flat—a 27% decrease compared to the same month last year.

That's the bad news. The good news is that most of that drop is due (once again) to the demise of the compact camera.

If you break Interchangeable Lens Cameras (ILCs) out of that picture and into its own graph, the story gets a bit rosier. ILC shipments (that's DSLR and Mirrorless combined) were down only 5.4% compared to the same month last year—DSLR sales by themselves actually eked up 0.1%, while mirrorless sales dropped by 15.8%—and outperformed February 2016 by 17.3%.

ILC shipments actually outperformed 2016, coming up only a few percent short of last year's February report.

To get to that overall 26.6% drop, you have to account for the whopping 44.7% drop in compact camera shipments... a sad if not surprising figure. You can see each of the percentages—overall, compacts, ILCs total, DSLRs, and mirrorless—highlighted in the chart below:

This month's shipment numbers compared to the same figures from last month.
From top to bottom: All Digital Cameras, Compacts only, all ILCs, DSLRs only, Mirrorless only.

Taken as a whole, a weak end to 2017 seems to have led into a weak beginning to 2018. But if you look at ILC numbers by themselves, the picture is a bit less bleak. Sure, 2017 still ended on a pretty sad slump compared to 2016, but February has seen a big jump over January where, in previous years, that line has stayed flat or even seen a decline.

If March outperforms February—as is usually the case—it could mean the ILC market, least, is stabilizing a bit. And if Canon and Nikon release full-frame mirrorless cameras sometime this year, we could even see 2018 outperform 2017. Of course, that's all speculation for now, but we'll be keeping a close eye on the numbers in the coming months.

In the meantime, if you want to dive deeper into shipment data by region, or see how camera production did in February (DSLRs up 4%, Mirrorless down 11%), head over to the CIPA website.