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: Asahi.com (Japanese) is reporting on this as well.