A sign of things to come? Latest CIPA numbers show camera sales seem to be recovering


Whether or not you’ve been following the camera news sales over the last 18 months or so, it probably comes as not much of a surprise that camera sales have been way down. Sales weren’t looking great even before the planet was hit with a global pandemic which saw production go down around the world as well as demand.

But the latest figures from CIPA show that while we’re not back up to 2019 levels yet, the data so far for 2021 looks like the industry might be starting to make something of a recovery, with sales significantly higher than the same time last year over a four-month period leading up to July.

Worldwide shipments of digital cameras as a whole saw rose to 138.9%, 137.1%, 192.4% and 132.3% in March, April, May and June 2021 respectively compared to figures for the same period in 2020.

When it came to cameras with built-in lenses, including compact point & shoots, as well as bridge cameras, the figures weren’t quite so significant as a whole, although all months except January and March show an increase over the same month in 2020.

For interchangeable lens cameras, the difference is quite significant, with May 2021 showing a whopping 214.2% with over 459,000 DSLR and mirrorless cameras shipped compared to 214,523 in May 2020.

For the first six months of 2021 as a whole, and when it comes specifically to DSLR vs mirrorless, DSLRs showed a 21% increase in units sold (a 13% increase in value) while mirrorless saw a 55% increase in units (an impressive 114% increase in value). Interestingly, compact cameras have shown a 0% increase in units shipped, but a 12% increase in value.

  • DSLR Units : 1226K +21% YTD
    DSLR Shipped Value: ¥48.9 billion +13% YTD
  • Mirrorless Units: 1558K +55% YTD
    Mirrorless Shipped Value: ¥156 billion +114% YTD
  • Compact Units: 1500K +0% YTD
    Compact Shipped Value: ¥36.0 billion +12% YTD

The market share of units shipped has also tipped in favourite of mirrorless, sitting at 56% vs a very slight minority share of 49.8% last year, but with a shipped value of 76.1% (vs 62.7% last year).

  • Cumulative YTD Mirrorless unit share (of Mirrorless + DSLR): 56% (was 49.8% Jan-June 2020)
    Cumulative YTD Mirrorless Shipped Value share: 76.1% (was 62.7% Jan-June 2020)

So, it seems that not only are people buying more mirrorless cameras now (not much of a surprise), they’re buying higher-end and more expensive mirrorless cameras. With the recent full-frame hype, though, that’s not much of a surprise.

Hopefully, this trend will continue through the second half of the year. There are a lot of exciting new cameras on the way, so it will be interesting to see how well they do.

[via Nikon Rumors]





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