April is normally a month of growth where we expect a major push for the summer market. With March being ahead of expectations it may be that April would correct for that. The other problem to deal with was the earthquake that affected camera production, would that that be visible this month or would this be something for later.
I expect that the slowdown will continue due to the switch to other technologies, production issues as well as a drawback in the imaging industry due to 'image fatigue'
We will take a look at the market as usual by camera type and geographical zone to get the bigger picture. The DSLRs vs Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras (MILCs) battle will also be addressed as well as the average price for each camera type and zone. Firstly, the overall global picture for April 2016 as reported by the industry body CIPA Japan.
Overall global unit shipments of all types to all zones were down -31.7% when compared to the same month the previous year.
The total value of shipments of all types to all zones was down 18.3% in Yen when compared to the same month the previous year.
Europe maintained its position as the biggest market by geographical zone in terms of units shipped with 34.8% of the market over the last year. Asia and Americas are nearly equal at 24%/25% with the Japanese market about half their size at 14% and Others at just 2.4%. Looking at the last 6 months up to April 2016 we can see a weakening in the Americas market to just 22.8%. Japan has strengthened to 15.9% whilst Asia and Others have made small gains.
In terms of Total Value of all cameras shipped, Asia is the largest market with 33.3% of the last 12 months. Whilst over the last 6 months, we have seen an improvement in the Asian and European markets, a stable Japanese market and a small fall in the Americas market.
Comparing the units shipped to each region, the fall of -42.5% to Asia and -53.8% to Others are the main concerns for the camera market.
The total value of all digital cameras shipped was down in all regions. This was again mainly due to a fall in Americas, Asia and Others.
Dipite falls in unit shipments average unit costs continue to improve in all areas. We will see where this improvement comes from later in the camera type analysis.
Looking more closely at the unit shipment trends since 2014 across the regions all are lower and still falling. As smartphones and other devices continue to get improved cameras the need for a dedicated camera gets less and less. The market continues its downward trend with more trouble to come in May and June given recent news events.
The trend is down in all geo-zones in terms of total value. This may be due to current currency fluctuations, still not good for the overall business.
The average unit price in Yen continues to trend up in all geo-zones. Europe is still buying more low cost cameras where Asia is buying more expensive models.
Despite the drop in unit sales and revenues, the average unit cost is still trending up. This trend has taken a leap upwards with the value of the Yen appreciating last month. The currency wars continue as regions vie to improve their exports by manipulating their currency. Jury out on where the future lie on this one.
The market continues to move away from Compact (FLCs) with little sign of that changing. DSLRs share shows an increase of 2.0% in the last 6 months with Compacts down 3.0%. Mirrorless (MILC) cameras have seen an acceleration in market share over the last 6 months with a rise of 1% in unit terms.
From a Total Value viewpoint, Compacts are continuing to decline losing another 2.2% in the last 6 months. DSLR's are inceasing value, up 0.3% in the last 6 months. Meanwhile, Mirrorless have jumped 1.9% in value share over the last 6 months as more expensive models come online.
Year on year comparison for March 2016 shows a -37.7% decline in units shipped for Compact cameras. DSLRs see a fall of 20.8%. Mirrorless also showing a fall in units shipped by -22.1%..
In total value terms, Compacts dropped by -33.3%. DSLRs shipment fell by by -11.5% whilst Mirrorless also fell by 4.1% in YEN revenue. The next figure on average unit costs should spread some light on why.
Compact cameras have shown a rise of 7.2% in average unit cost. DSLRs have gained 11.7% in average unit cost. Mirrorless have shown a healthy rise in total value and a 23.1% rise in average unit cost.
The ongoing trend for unit shipments confirms Compacts are still falling whilst DSLRs and Mirrorless both show signs of leveling out. The rate at which Compacts are falling has accelerated over the last few months.
Overall revenues have dropped for all camera types. What's new?
Average unit values have been rising over this period but with Mirrorless continuing to power ahead. DSLRs and Compact cameras are slipping in unit value.
From a global perspective, the market for Still Digital Cameras leveled off in unit terms. Whereas, the total value has shown a slight fall this month.
The largest geographical zone for units shipped is Europe but by Total Value it is Asia, taking Japan as a separate zone.
Trends are generally down or static apart from the average unit values that seem to keep rising, perhaps due to people buying more expensive cameras that can out-perform their Smartphones.
The next big change will be due to the effects of the earthquake on production.
Mirrorless cameras continue to make progress however, they are relatively highly priced so DSLRs still outsell them by 2.7 to 1.