What's behind the decline of the DSLR?

Is the DSLR on its way out? A recent article from Andrew Reid on EOSHD.com sums up the reports from the last year and offers some reasoning behind the DSLR sales slump.

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DSLRs may still be standard for professional photographers, but consumer-level photography has shifted. Whether it is the emergence of mirrorless compact cameras or the increasing quality of smartphone cameras, consumers are not buying DSLRs the way they used to. 

Reid points to the importance of sharing over image quality. Sure, that DSLR may take better photos than your iPhone, but can your Canon EOS 100D post to Facebook? Meanwhile, the economic downturn has made the less-expensive mirrorless cameras a more appealing purchase for those who think that a cell phone is insufficient. 

Here's a clip from Reid's article:

Canon especially has sold 23% fewer cameras so far in 2013 than at the same point last year.

Nikon have sold 18% fewer.

Investors are taking fright. Shares in Nikon who are the most camera orientated of the big manufacturers are down the most; a 33% fall.

Sony and Fuji’s sales are down a huge 35%. Although Fuji’s X line has revitalised interest in the brand from enthusiasts and pros, both company’s have suffered at the low and mid sections of the market.

Christopher Chute from market intelligence firm IDC predicts Nikon may be out of business in 5 years if the trend continues.

“You’re talking about a 10-15% decline in DSLR shipments all over the world. Which is kind of shocking because that market’s been growing double digits for almost ten years. Nikon recently said they have a five year plan to address this. And my view is, that five year plan should have come out five years ago. They’re not going to be around in five years.”

That may seem alarmist, but clearly the kind of customer a low end DSLR is aimed at now uses their smartphone far more than they use a DSLR. Even speaking as a massive camera enthusiast, for a quick snap I have to literally force myself to use a DSLR for it. Almost everything I share on Facebook and Twitter is shot with my iPhone.

Let's hear from you: What will become of the consumer-level DLSR?