Global Digital Camera Market Report November 2016

This month is again going to be a short version with just the important highlights, before a full review of the year 2016 when December figures are available next month. We are looking for evidence that the digital camera production and shipments are continuing to improve after months of short supplies. For a more in-depth analysis then look back at Global Digital Camera Market Report June 2016.


November normal shows a marked downturn after camera shipments have been made to cover the holiday period. Since there has been a shortage of certain cameras all year it would be good to see the shipments continue to improve. This would especially help the compact fixed lens cameras.

There will only be one more month of 2016 to make up for what has been a disastrous year for the digital camera industry given that 4 of the major professional cameras have been updated this year and they have been well received so should have boosted the overall sales this year. Next year will not be so abundant in major camera revisions. We will have to wait for the full year results and predictions for 2017 to see where we are.

Digital Camera Production

Since September camera production has been on the rise but from a very low level. The overall production of digital cameras improve by +6.4% compared to October. That is still down -17.3% on the same month a year ago. The holiday season has come and gone and lost sales have hurt the industry. The next few months will show if the market demand will be sustained or sink to a new low level.

The camera production figures for the year 2016 so far are still down -35.5% by units. This is way down on the relatively small downward forecast of about -9% made at the beginning of the year.

Looking at the different camera types. Compact cameras are up +5.9%, Mirrorless up +17.5% and DSLRs up +2.6% month-on-month. Over the full year so far, this leaves Compact cameras down -47.3%, Mirrorless down -9.4% and DSLRs down -17.1% from the previous year covering the same period. Just 1 months to go to prevent what would be a very bad year for the digital camera industry and photography in general.

Global Digital Camera Production Units (K) by Type - 2014 to 2016

The chart above shows the seasonal nature of camera production but also the continuing year-on-year decline. Mirrorless cameras have made a big monthly improvement.

Global Camera Shipments

Turning attention to actual camera shipments in November 2016, the figures show only a slight improvement in overall cameras shipped in comparison with the same month the year earlier. However, that still means camera shipments are still way down on the same month the previous year. Shipments to all areas of digital still cameras are down -34% on the same month a year ago, a +2% improvement on the same figure the previous month.

Global Digital Camera Units Shipped Year on Year Change 2016

From a total value viewpoint, we see a big improvement with figures going positive into the black for the same month year-to-year. We will see the reasons for this in the following sections.

Global Digital Camera Total Value Shipped Year on Year Change 2016

Global Camera Shipments by Geographical Zone

Year on Year Change by Month

Digital Camera Unit Shipments - % Change on Previous Year 2016

All areas of the globe received an improved supply of cameras during November. This was however still down between 10% and 20% on last years figures. Europe still being the worst supplied area being -20.3% of the same month a year previous. Japan is best placed with just -12.4% down from the previous year. It has been a bad 6 months for camera shipments and we won’t know where the industry is until we see the figures for the next few months.

Digital Camera Total Value Shipments - % Change on Previous Year 2016

Total value is up in all geographical areas showing more expensive cameras leading the way.

Global Camera Shipments by Camera Type

Year on Year Change by Month for Camera Type

Digital Camera Unit Shipments - % Change on Previous Year 2016

Year-on-year comparison for Nov 2016 shows an improving situation but still overall continuing downward results. Compact cameras were down -28.6% on the same month the previous year whilst Mirrorless cameras managed a 1% increase and DSLRs down -0.7%. If Compact cameras could stabilize then the market could find the bottom.

Digital Camera Total Value Shipments - % Change on Previous Year 2016

All camera types have improved average unit values but Compact cameras do lead the way. This is due to the collapse of the basic point-and-shoot camera for more advanced and expensive models, just a lot less of them. Mirrorless and DSLR average values have risen as new high end models are released.


Global Digital Camera Unit Trend (K) by Type - 2014 to 2016

For the first time in a long time the trend graph for unit camera shipments is showing signs of leveling off. This is due to the flatlining of Mirrorless and DSLR shipments together. If only Compact cameras could do the same we could see the market bottoming out.

With this years camera production issues now ‘resolved’ we can now start to see where the industry is at and the likely direction it will take into 2017.

What appears to be clear now is that the ability of the digital camera to stand alone as a unique product in its own specialist main street stores and generate sufficient level of sales and profits is now over. It simply must join the realms of general electronics store as just another box to be shifted. Online sales being the main route to market. If you don’t like it, just send it back.

DSLR vs Mirrorless

Several really good Mirrorless cameras have come to market in the last few months. The Fujifilm XT-2 being tops with incredible sales largely due to being spot on in terms of size and features. Fujifilm’s range of lenses for the APS-C cameras is a very attractive proposition for the prosumer photographer.

On the other hand with the new Canon 5D mkiv, 80D and Nikon D500, DSLRs are still a force to be reckoned with.

Shipments of DSLRs now stand at 2.16 per Mirrorless camera, down from 2.5 last month.

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