Canon and Nikon both published their latest financial reports over the past couple of weeks, and the numbers don’t paint a rosy picture for the camera industry. Both companies reported a decline in imaging business sales of around 17% over the previous year.
Canon’s first quarter results for 2019 reported a drop of 17% compared to the first quarter in 2018. Nikon’s results for the fiscal year ending on March 31st, 2019, reports a year-over-year decline of 17.9%.
The two companies are seeing the market for dedicated cameras continue to shrink as smartphones continue to eat into it.
“[T]he contraction of the market for interchangeable-lens cameras, mainly for DSLRs, continued in step with the proliferation of smartphones, resulting in a significant decline in sales and profits,” Canon states in its report. “In the first quarter, sales of interchangeable-lens cameras were down 19% to 850 thousand units. This reflects the combined impact of accelerated market contraction for DSLRs, in particular, entry-level models, and economic slowdown in China, which is a sizeable market for interchangeable-lens cameras.”
“For the digital camera-interchangeable lens type, sales of the D850, a digital SLR camera, were strong, and the Group made efforts to increase sales of the new Z 7 and Z 6 full-frame mirrorless cameras, which have earned favorable reviews,” Nikon says in its report. “However, unit sales of both digital camera-interchangeable lens type and compact digital cameras fell amidst the shrinking market.”
Nikon says the uncertain economy and rising camera competition may cause further declines in his camera business.
“In the market for digital cameras, which are the leading products in the Imaging Products Business, there is a possibility of the market undergoing drastic changes due to fluctuations of the economy of the respective regions,” the company writes. “Furthermore, the expansion of the markets of strong competition, such as new digital equipment, may lead to the further decline in demand for digital cameras.”
And for the camera market as a whole, Nikon predicts it will continue to shrink overall while full-frame interchangeable lens cameras as a niche holds its ground.
“Regarding future prospects of the business segments of the Group, in the Imaging Products Business, although the digital camera-interchangeable lens type market is expected to remain solid in the full-frame category, the market as a whole is forecast to continue to shrink, and the continuing shrinkage of the compact digital camera market is also expected,” Nikon says.