Camera shipments continue to fall


The Japanese imaging manufacturers association, CIPA, has just released its global production and shipments report for the first half of the year, and there’s not a lot of good news in it. Between January and June 2013 Japanese manufacturers shipped just short of 30 million digital cameras – that’s a 43% drop in a single year.

According to the CIPA (Camera and Imaging Products Association) report, production of compact (‘built-in lens’) cameras fell by almost half in the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period last year, and total camera shipments fell by 42.7% in the same period.

It’s no surprise to see mass-market point and shoot cameras bearing the brunt of the decline. In volume terms they dominate the market, and sales are falling fast – not helped by the rapid rise of the smartphone as the camera of choice for casual snapshooters.

A little more surprising, though, are the year-on-year declines in shipments of DSLR and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, both down around 18.5% in the first half of 2013 compared to last year. The DSLR market has grown steadily since 2003, and it’s going to be an uphill struggle to continue that growth in 2013 without some blockbuster autumn launches to drive the all-important peak buying season in Q4.

These numbers don’t tell the whole story – shipments are not the same as sales, and CIPA reports don’t include non-Japanese manufacturers such as Samsung (though they do include all overseas manufacturing done for and by Japanese companies). But the drop in production levels does suggest that the industry is not expecting a big surge in demand for the rest of the year. Average selling prices (specifically on fixed lenses) are also on the rise as manufacturers abandon the entry-level to concentrate their efforts on high-end cameras.



Putting aside the global economic depression/recession (yes we’re in one), cameras have reached a point where many are not compelled to upgrade. Unless there is a significant change in technology, I don’t see the need to upgrade.


I have a friend that has the Original Rebel camera and a few lenses. He wants to buy another Canon camera but they just haven’t improved the Rebel line enough for him to pull the trigger.

Hopefully the next Rebel camera will finally have a better sensor and the good AF from the 70D.


It is obvious. If you have a camera that works for you then you won’t buy another camera just because they add one little insignificant feature.

Oh wait, that is exactly what everyone on this forum does. I guess we are probably keeping these businesses afloat.


If Oly and Panasonic can ride out this downturn, I think we’ll see even more compelling mirrorless entries. I own three older, bulkier Nikon DSLRs, and I’m probably at the end of that platform. DSLRs no longer offer me enough advantages over smaller mirrorless cameras. Canon and Nikon no longer strike me as innovative; they simply peddle their products better than the real innovators Sony, Oly, and Panasonic.


We are drowning with cameras.


Be thankful it’s not Silver Halide dependent…



It shouldn’t come as a surprise.
It may well be that “selling the potatoes” lost its momentum (or one of these) for several reasons. Generally the manufacturer knows that the regular fluctuations are occurring on more than one level of the schema (some very specific to itself) which is built in its plan accordingly (i.e. not expanding too much beyond healthy flexibility). Building positions on the market is another crucial thing. Anyway, the potatoes have been shifting around for some time and will end up in a certain pot sooner or later. For the other cameras it will be about the (size of the) sensor – lens system – character – service – perception of the brand – and money a bit more than it used to be. As these things crystallize and the other phases go on shaping the market. Also, if a manufacturer was doing ok making a junk it may prove the worse option in the future with rather the selection picking up its momentum. Besides, some of the Atlasman’s point applies currently too.


Im glad…its enough….now theyll think twice before bringing a new model out….i think it got way to far….


The industry (SLR) is stalled by Canikon and their lack of interest in producing mirrorless systems: the future of photography.The old pond is drying up!


Mirrorless cameras maybe the future of photography but if the numbers are correct it looks like consumers do not think the current crop of mirrorless cameras are the glimpse of that future. Report shows same drop in shipments for both SLR and mirrrorless cameras, so I guess market is saturated and there is no much innovation in both areas, real innovation that would compel users to buy or replace camera bodies.

Peter Bendheim

The average camera user – people who want to take family snaps and memories – not the people that frequent pages like this – constitute the largest body of buyers and users by far – and they don’t buy a new camera every year or upgrade – so once the market is saturated, it’s saturated. And then there are mobile phones….


Could it be that the digital cameras are maturing and have reach a point in development that meets or surpasses most needs?

Similar appears to be happening with the home pc. How are flat screen tv sales?

Maybe the increased competition and market pressures will distill camera design to what is really needed in each category.

Franka T.L.

Shouldn’t surprise , though all those new models do show advance in performance and features, its a simple case of evolutionary instead. Its come to the point where people simply need not upgrade for any single replacement per generation, especially among the Mid to high end range ( not for PROs ).


International crisis and lack of true innovation, makes people sit on their old camera’s longer. Low end is obviously suffering from phones.

Rick Knepper

It would be a reasonable assumption that the market for (D)SLR, driven by non-professionals some of which were getting their toes wet for the first time, has hit its saturation point maybe for a num ber of reasons. Further aggravating the decline I would imagine is that within the top tier of 35mm DSLR products, there is an amazing lack of choice as evidenced by Canon and Nikon continuing to build the few cameras in this category with a “one size fits all” mentality.

And, there is still the lingering effects of the recession. These cameras are just too expensive, recession or not. If C&N want to broaden this market, and maybe they don’t want to or cannot, they need to lower their prices.


yes, it’s the true…for decrease

but worldwide shipments of DSLR and MR like cameras present big differences

DLSR selling growth up (a lot )!!
Mirrorless selling growth down

the mirrorless hype is it over?

see graphs here

Camera sales history from 2011 till today. Mirrorless hype is over. DSLR rules.


DSLR and mirrorless shipments were both down 18%. I find it hard to see either as “growth up (a lot)”.


Since february 2013:

…dslr…trend up
…mirrorless trend down



Probably because there haven’t been many significant releases so far this year for mirrorless. The new Panasonic GX-7, the new OM-D Pro , new Fuji XE-2, X-Pro2, Canon EOS-M2,a replacement for the NEX-7 , will be coming soon plus the Panasonic G6 and Olympus EP-5 are just becoming available.
There’s been a pause after a surge last year of very capable mirrorless cameras from most manufacturer’s.
At the same time there were a number of new generation DSLRs released towards the end of last year that boosted that part of the market.

Stphane Jemelin

Just look at the prices of entry DSLR vs a good Mirrorless. Mirrorless tend to be a niche for enthousiast photographers, no longer for the mass.


February was a long time ago, this goes to show those reports were misleading. For the first 6 months of the year this shows that both DSL and mirrorless were hit equally.

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