The Compact camera held court in Japan during 2013 driving the seasonal swings and taking the largest part of the money. DSLR's and Mirrorless both showed steady growth with Mirrorless having a strong end to the year. Overall DSLR's had the bigger market than Mirrorless in total value.
Compact and DSLR's vie for top spot in the overall money stakes, all making some gains throughout the year. Mirrorless ends the year in good shape.
The largest falls in sales took place in 2014. Peaks in total sales were down from over 750K units to 600K units. DSLR unit numbers slipped back early in year with challenges from Mirrorless but pulled up a little towards the end.
DSLR's showed a clear lead in total sales early but then dipped before recovering. Compact and Mirrorless kept a steady pace throughout the year but still fell in year on year comparison.
The steady decline in unit sales has continued especially with the Compact Cameras. Mirrorless had almost caught up with DSLR's in the middle of 2015 but DSLR's have since picked up a little. Will we see growth in the future? That is difficult to predict but signs are that we may be approaching the bottom.
The annual share of units by type shows the major decline in Compact cameras. Mirrorless made some progress but have since stalled whereas the market for DSLR's is still growing a little each year. Compact cameras still account for 67% of the market by units shipped.
DSLR's have enjoyed the largest increase in market value going from 30% to 39% but are now tailing off. Mirrorless have enjoyed a 2% rise year-on-year to now have 23% of the market. Compact cameras are stabilizing after a large retraction in 2012-13.
The trend in units shipped is starting to stabilize but still falling. Compact cameras are down 18% whilst Mirrorless and DSLR's are down about 10%. Still some way to go before we see the bottom.
In terms of overall market value this has been more interesting. Mirrorless had seen some increase in overall market during 2014 only to dip in 2015. DSLR sales had slipped from 2014 onwards and although a relatively stable market value in 2015 there was a price to pay. This was due to falling unit value to improve unit turnover.
So here we have steadily rising camera unit values. That is until a major downturn for DSLR values in 2015. Higher value Mirrorless Cameras have been released and are showing up in the results. Only a close look at company results will tell us how much company profits have suffered.
This has been a difficult year for the camera manufacturers. Not because it is the worst year but because it is a year when things should have stabilized and started an upturn. That did not happen and now the global economic situation is starting to look fragile. Analysts are already factoring in another 8% fall in total unit sales for Japan in 2016 but that could be optimistic.