Camera Sales Falling Around the World as Smartphoneography Erodes Demand

Businessweek writes that Canon has lowered its sales estimates across all its camera lines, saying that smartphones are drinking its milkshake — and it’s not just Canon:

Global camera sales are expected to fall 4.3 percent this year to 115.2 million units, according to market researcher IHS. Industrywide camera shipments fell 25 percent in August from a year earlier, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association in Tokyo.

By comparison, global sales of smartphones […] rose 32 percent to 146.1 million units in the second quarter, according to market researcher Strategy Analytics.

“We lowered our camera sales projection because of slower economic growth and an increasing use of smartphones that’s eroding demand,” [Canon] Chief Financial Officer Toshizo Tanaka told reporters in Tokyo today.

This year, compact cameras are projected to have the worst demand since 2009. Who would have thought that digital cameras would be struggling as digital photography booms?

Canon Reduces Forecasts as Smartphones Start Replacing Cameras [Businessweek]

Update: Canon has announced its latest quarterly results. Revenue is down 13% and profit is down 42%.

Image credit: Fotógrafo / Photographer by ajgelado

  • kaja12

    well.. canon should start making IMPRESSIVE cameras again instead of doing mediocre updates.
    yes the 5D MK3 AF is great.. but otherwise i see nothing that let me wish to update from a 5D MK2
    and the 6D…. well a lousy AF with only one cross AF point , a 97% viewfinder, 1/4000s and 180 x-sync.. is not what i call impressiv.
    DSLR cameras have to deliver more for the price… especially in a though economy.

    and P&S cameras….. who needs those small sensor cameras when a phone does as good?
    they have to create P&S cameras with bigger sensors.
    the quality of a smartphone is not so much worse then most P&S cameras.

  • ceebee

    Digital will eat itself.

  • Guy Rish

    Kaja12 is right. Canon needs to pay more attention to quality of their model tiers than crying about smartphones.
    I stepped up from my 40D in June to a 5DIII – which has already come down in price because of the 6D – which while a lesser device has features which would cost me $100s to replicate in the higher priced model I bought!
    Perhaps Canon can adopt an old photography adage: slow it down and get it right in camera and waste less (film).
    Just sayin’.

  • Patrick Day

    Also the fact that a new camera comes out what seems like weekly from all the companies makes it worth waiting till you really need to upgrade.

  • kaja12

    yep especially olympus and panasonic m43 cameras seem to get updated every 6 month or so.

  • Dikaiosune01

    Canon ought to bring back some of its best rangefinder designs… That’ll boost sales!

  • Don

    World levels of poor quality images are expected to rise in 2013 as more people use their smartphones

  • Matthew Wagg

    Why should people buy a new, stupidly expensive camera when smartphone cameras are almost as good in the general sense. Most people don’t want multiple lenses, “upgrading” every six months for a minor benefit somewhere. For me personally, coming from a film background I only upgraded my cameras when they broke. Sure I’ve bought multiple cameras but only a new one when the old one didn’t work and was more expensive to repair than replace. Now we have a situation where instead of replacing the film with newer types, we have to replace the entire camera.

    Its incredibly wasteful of our planet’s resources and very irresponsible of the camera companies throwing out new models all the time. We should be finding ways of using what we have and recycling rather than blowing through rare materials like kids in a sweet shop.

  • muddyclouds

    I can understand that small compact cameras takes a hit due to the constant improving quality in mobile phone cameras. But I don’t really understand why sales figures for serious DSLR’s are affected cause of that. They are not playing in the same league. I wouldn’t take a four hour stroll with the primary objective to shoot pictures with just a mobile phone. The mobile phone camera is more of an emergency option for me.

  • Roy

    That’s planned obsolescence for you.

  • Roy

    Just like phone cams are encroaching on the compact camera’s turf, serious compacts are eating into the DSLR segment because one by one, the reasons why many people bought their entry-level DSLR’s are being wiped out by advances in compact camera tech, such as AF, response time and EVF’s.

  • Leo Koo

    Canon and Nikon are playing the same game that Palm, Nokia and Blackberry before they went bust. Being market leaders, Canon and Nikon are giving small, incremental updates. After all, they hold the gold mine, and while Apple with their impressive iPhone might be good enough for most photographers, it’s not good enough for studio or photojournalism, yet. Not yet. But perhaps in the near future.