Digital camera sales peaking in Japan

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Digital Camera Sales
The latest stats from Japan's CIPA (the Camera and Imaging Products Association) suggest that digital camera sales may have peaked.

In November 2004 (the last period for which public data is freely available), 806,079 digital cameras were sold in Japan. This is only 87% as many that were sold in November 2003.

From January-November 2004, 7.7 million digital cameras were sold. This is 102% as many as were sold from Jan-Nov 2003.

(Same month data for exports is 6 million sold [94%]; and year-sum is 47.6 million or 151%)

The data trends suggests that consumers are happy with their 3-5 megapixel compact digital cameras and the market may be reaching saturation. Especially in Japan, compact digital cameras are under pressure from digital mobile phones. The latest models have 2-3 megapixel cameras built-in and are heavily subsidized from mobile phone providers. Production is remaining constant, however, mainly due to increased sales to North America and Europe where there is still very strong growth.

Digital SLR sales are strong and show no signs of peaking yet. Production is running at 300% of last year's figures. However with only 2.3 million DSLRs made during Jan-Nov 24, this is only a small percentage (4.2%) of the entire digital camera market of 55 million cameras produced during the same period.

Film Camera Sales
The situation is much bleaker for film cameras. Production during Jan-Nov 2004 of focal plane cameras (i.e. mostly SLRs) were only 47.5% of last year's Jan-Nov figures. Point and shoots were a bit stronger at 63.6% of last year's numbers. Still, the downward trend is inexorable and is the same regardless of world region.

Perhaps reflecting greater sales to people with digital SLRs, production of SLR-interchangeable lenses was running at 117% of last year's figures.

Data from CIPA, analysis by Karen Nakamura.

Update 2005.01.06: (Japanese) is reporting on this as well.


3 Comments from the old blogger system:

nasukaren said...

>What is the average life span of film and digital compact/>SLR/rangefinder/MF cameras? Hard to quantify, but film >cameras have drop in sales aslo because they are not being >marketed agressively (or even made); do not need to be replaced; >big second hand market too.A recent article in Camera Get says that manufacturers are now measuring lifespans in months rather than years. There's also severe pressure on industrywide profits because production overruns are often remaindered at a loss. No one wants to buy a 3 megapixel camera, for example, so you have to sell it at 75% off MSRP.I think what we're seeing in Japan is pure market saturation. Most people now have a digital camera (either compact or in their cellphone), 3-5 megapixels is enough for 4x6 photos, and there's really no reason to buy another one now. So the only growth segment is a limited range of high-end zoom fixed-lens digital cameras and DSLRs. We'll see those plateau soon too.America and Europe are still growth markets. These comments only apply to Japan.KN

5:05 PM

erikl said...

I've often wondered about the lifespans of digital cams/SLRs. I have a Sony F717 that is nicely constructed (relatively speaking) and recently picked up an EOS 20D. I wonder how long these will be workable for before requiring service work on their shutters or lcd's. I have an old OM-1 that's built like an absolute tank in comparison, and still going strong. But maybe this is comparing apples to oranges?It seems like the standard for consumer-grade cameras has dropped off severely. I'm fairly certain the OM-1 was designd as a compact consumer-grade unit in its day, but its heft and implied durability far outmatch the 20D (or at least it feels that way). At times it seems like much of technology gains are applied towards making things faster & more cheaply. Canon's 50mm 1.8 Mark II lens might be an example of that.

2:25 AM

nasukaren said...

In the past, cameras and lenses were incredibly expensive (you could buy a new car for the same price as a Leica M3+lens). What we've seen is an enormous price drop. Build quality necessarily suffers, although optically even the cheap lines are often excellent (the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 a case in point).If you buy into the high-end professional gear, you get the build quality of yesteryear with the sophistication of the present. My Canon EF L lenses are watersealed and I use them in the rain without hesitation. I wouldn't do that to any of my older Pentax lenses or even my Leica lenses. But that all said, digital cameras only have a production lifespan of about a year. Canon will continue to make parts available for 7 years. Unlike mechanical cameras where there was a lot of parts sharing between models, the only thing that the 10D shares with the 20D is the battery. That means in 2010, you can expect that it will be impossible to have it fixed and will have to throw it away if it is broken.My Leica M3 recently celebrated its 42nd birthday. I took it out shooting.Karen

8:15 PM

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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on January 5, 2005 10:47 PM.

Link: Robert McFarlane, Photojournalist was the previous entry in this blog.

Link: NPPA Photojournalist of the Year Awards 2004 is the next entry in this blog.

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