Nikkei published its 2018 digital camera market trends report yesterday, and the news is grim. While Canon, Fuji and Olympus all saw their global market share increase last year, total sales volume for digital cameras dropped by a whopping 22%.
The story is perhaps rosiest for Canon, whose 40.5% market share represents an increase of 3.9% over 2017. Meanwhile, its closest competitors both saw market share drop, with Nikon logging 19.1% (a decrease of 2.7%) and Sony at 17.7% (a drop of 0.7%). Fujifilm, meanwhile, increased its market share by 1.3% to a total of 5.1%, and Olympus saw an incremental improvement of 0.1% for a total global market share of 2.8%.
All together, these five companies make up 85.2% of the digital cameras sold in 2018.
Looking at the latest CIPA report, these numbers are not terribly surprising. 2018 saw a decrease in total digital camera units sold every single month across the board, never quite matching the sales numbers from 2017. So far, 2019 is continuing that trend.
The one glimmer of hope is that, while unit numbers continue to decrease, unit cost has been increasing. The major camera companies know that compact and entry-level models are having an ever harder time competing with smartphones, and so they’re pushing harder into the high-end, high-priced markets. Nikon and Canon both launched full-frame mirrorless cameras late last year, Sony is expected to refresh its lineup again this year, and Fuji just debuted the 102MP mirrorless medium format GFX100.
But even if sales of interchangeable lens cameras somehow start outperforming 2018 month-over-month (they haven’t yet this year) expect reports to remain grim as the major smartphone manufacturers continue to innovate at a pace the big camera companies just can’t seem to match.