Global Digital Camera Market Report September 2016

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.


September normally marks the start of 3 of the busiest months of Digital Camera shipments. This obviously to maximize sales in the high spending season through Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and New Year celebrations. Given the poor shipments of the previous 4 months, would September see a major rise in camera shipments. It sorely needed to!

Have the effects of the Kumamoto earthquakes settled down and are manufacturers ramping up production to regain some of the lost summer sales?

Digital Camera Production

At last we see a significant jump in production figures. This is slightly ahead of schedule based on past years but as production was so far down this summer it is welcome that production is picking up pace.

The overall production of digital cameras improve by +30.4% compared to Aug. That is still down -35.3% on the same month a year ago so a long way ideal coming into the holiday season. For the year 2016 so far camera production is still down a full -38.2% 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 up +35.8%, Mirrorless up +18.8% and DSLRs up +29.7% month-on-month. Over the full year so far, this leaves Compact cameras down -49.6%, Mirrorless down -12.8% and DSLRs down -20.4% 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 in October.

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

The chart above shows the seasonal nature of camera production but also the continuing year-on-year decline. DSLRs have nearly caught up with Compact cameras and Mirrorless are making slow but sure progress.

Global Camera Shipments

Looking at the actual shipment of Digital Cameras made in September, although this is an improving situation it in no way makes up for the huge shortfall that the industry has experienced over the last 6 months. We see an improvement in the shipment of cameras from -47.2% in Aug to a mere -36% decline in Sept for all cameras from the same month the previous year.

Global Digital Camera Units Shipped Year on Year Change 2016

From a total value viewpoint, there continues to be a significant improvement, of the decline, due to the shipment of more expensive cameras. The release and production of high-end cameras again coming through in the total shipment value this month.

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

Once more Asia gets the best of shipments, down just -17.4% from the previous year. Whilst everywhere except the home market, Japan, increased on the previous month, this will still leave camera stores empty of stock to sell. If you want to ‘kill’ and industry this is the way to do it.

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

Again Asia is the winner, probably due to high unit prices and a favorable exchange rate. It may not last as things get tight in Asian markets. This will be one to watch next year.

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 Sept 2016 shows a positive improvement especially for the Mirrorless camera. Compact cameras are still in the mire whilst DSLRs are improving. Hopefully by next month we can see some stability if not growth in the market.

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

In this graph we see an illustration of where the camera companies are going, dump low priced compacts and go up-market. This is true with the latest DSLRs but Mirrorless haven’t caught up yet, although with the latest releases they will.


So at least some indication this month that things in the industry are moving back to normality. Just what normality will look like in the coming months is not yet clear.

High end cameras have been released this year and that has evidently been the focus of attention for camera companies this year. Looking at company results this week we see the exchange rate as well as the earthquakes being blamed for substantial falls in sales and profit. I expect choice is at at the heart of current production runs. Companies are choosing to give up on low cost unprofitable cameras even though they are quarter of the market.

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.

DSLR vs Mirrorless

The average unit cost of both DSLRs and Mirrorless camera have decreased this month with DSLRs remaining above Mirrorless.

Given the production issues, it is very difficult to tell just which type is doing better. Shipments of DSLRs now stand at 2.8 per Mirrorless camera, up from 2.3 last month.

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