Again this month instead of publishing a full review of the CIPA digital camera market statistics we will just look at the most significant changes since last month's report. For a more in-depth analysis then look back at Global Digital Camera Market Report June 2016.
The current state of the camera industry has led to a marked shortage of compact cameras for sale. This has been due in part to the April earthquake in Japan disrupting camera production. Is that the whole story or are manufacturers simply choosing to divert resources to more profitable products as the demand for low-cost stand-alone cameras decreases further?
Coming up to the holiday season we would expect to see the production of cameras increase to meet demand. Has that been the case and can we expect stocks levels to improve? Given the state of specialist camera retail shops, there needs to be if they are to survive to see another Christmas.
As with many industries, August sees a decline in production as the main summer holidays kick in. Whilst this may still be the case here, given the poor state of stocks it would be reassuring to see production pick up.
The overall production of digital cameras fell by just -0.8% compared to July. Previous years we have seen much bigger drops so that is at least encouraging. The year-on-year drop for August is down -48% and that is where there is a problem. For the year 2016 so far camera production is now down a full -38.6% by units. Given the industry predicted a downturn of just about -9% there is a lot of ground to make up in the remaining few months if this is to be achieved.
Looking at the different camera types. Compact cameras are down -7.2%, Mirrorless up 27.2% and DSLRs down -2.8% month-on-month. Over the full year so far, this leaves Compact cameras down -48.7%, Mirrorless down -17.9% and DSLRs down -22.6% from the previous year covering the same period. If this is to be reversed then we need to see a very big upturn in production over September and October.
The above trend chart shows the situation in production is still declining with little signs of any leveling off or upturn in the near future. If the monthly figure for Mirrorless can be sustained then at least that will be a ray of light at the end of the tunnel.
We see a marginal improvement in the shipment of cameras from the disastrous -51% of July to a mere -47.2% decline in all cameras from the same month the previous year.
From a total value viewpoint, there has been a significant improvement, of the decline, due to the shipment of more expensive cameras. The release and production of high-end cameras coming through in the shipment value this month.
Once more Europe bore the brunt of the shortage in units along with the Americas both being down over -50% from the same month last year. Asia gets the best of shipments, down just -20% from the previous year. I just hope this is not to feed the grey-market imports to Europe and the Americas.
Total value is also down but not by as much due to higher priced units being shipped in favor of low-cost compact cameras.
Year on year comparison for Aug 2016 shows an even worse decline in units shipped by -65.2% for Compact cameras. DSLRs see a decreased fall of -14.5% whilst Mirrorless also showing a fall, but improved, in units shipped by -10.9%. There seems no end to the decline in Compact cameras but at least a glimmer of hope for Mirrorless and DSLRs to stabilize.
In total value terms, the picture is improving due to the shipment of more expensive cameras across all types. DSLRs have done especially well with just a -6% fall in total value shipped compared with the same month last year. The total value of Mirrorless has declined due to the shipment of cheaper cameras declining by -25%.
Little has changed from July with production other than an improvement in Mirrorless Cameras. This will need to change fast if the upcoming Winter Holiday market is to be maximized.
More expensive cameras are being produced and shipped whilst the low-cost standalone camera is becoming obsolete.
What production is made seems to be shipped to Asian markets in preference to Europe especially causing issues within the European retail sector that may well damage future business.
The average unit cost of both DSLRs have and Mirrorless camera has increased this month with DSLRs remaining above Mirrorless by a whisker.
Both types are shipping less than the previous year but things are improving slowly.
Given the production issues, it is very difficult to tell just which type is doing better. Shipments of DSLRs now stand at 2.3 per Mirrorless camera, down from 2.8 last month.