Why Canon, Sony, and Fujifilm Are Driving Recovery In Camera Sales – For Now


Camera sales have started to recover from their pandemic-induced slump in 2020 – and new data on global market share suggests Canon, Sony and Fujifilm have been driving the photography.

Some new statistics from Japanese trade publication Nikkei have revealed the global digital camera market share for 2020, and it makes for interesting read for photographers and camera fans alike.

Canon still leads the way with a 47.9% share of the global camera pie (up 2.5% from 2019), while Sony continued to move away from Nikon in second place with a share of 22.1% (an increase of 1.9% from the previous year).

Only one other camera brand, Fujifilm, saw its market share increase in 2020 – the X and GFX series camera maker reached 5.6% of global camera shipments, up from 0 , 9% compared to 2019.

In contrast, Nikon – which long held second place behind Canon and stayed there until 2018 – saw its market share drop from 4.9% to 13.7%. And Panasonic, which focused primarily on its full-frame S-series last year, also saw a slight drop of 0.3% to 4.4% in global camera shipments.

A pie cat showing camera market share in 2020

(Image credit: Techno System Research)

All data is for 2020, a year in which camera sales fell 40% according to Japanese retailer BCN + R. But some more recent statistics from CIPA (the Camera & Imaging Products Association) suggest that cameras have bounced back this year.

In June 2021, digital camera shipments increased 148.1% compared to June 2020, while shipments increased 132.3% on the year. Of course, these are mostly camera makers recovering from a scorching 2020 rather than a long-term spike in demand, but that’s an encouraging boost given that the issues of manufacture have by no means been resolved.

We don’t yet know what the market share will look like for 2021, but last year’s data follows a trend that has seen Canon and Sony emerge as the new ‘big two’ in the camera food chain – and Recent camera launches give us an idea of ​​how this could play out in 2021.

Stellar years

Why exactly have Canon and Sony edged out their rivals, with Fujifilm also grabbing a slightly larger slice of the camera pie? While the emergence of a new ‘big two’ is a long-term trend for cameras, it also depends on the vagaries of release schedules.

Canon and Sony both had huge years for big launches in 2020. Canon, in particular, has updated most of its lineup – alongside the main launch of the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 (with a few lenses Stellar RF), we saw the arrival of two new DSLRs (the Canon EOS Rebel T8i / EOS 850D and the pro-focused Canon EOS 1D X Mark III), the Canon EOS M50 Mark II (although slightly disappointing) for hobbyists, and even quirks like the Canon PowerShot Zoom.

Sony ZV-1

(Image credit: Avenir)

Sony, meanwhile, has bet on video-focused cameras. Last year we saw the arrival of the best vlogging camera you can buy, the Sony ZV-1 (above), as well as the world’s best video camera in the Sony A7S III and its little brother Sony A7C. Fujifilm’s boost is also due in part to its busy 2020 year for new cameras: it released the Fujifilm X-T200, the Fujifilm X-T4 (which still tops our best camera guide) , the compact Fujifilm X100V and the impressive Fujifilm X-S10 for amateurs.

Not all of these trends have continued into 2021. The photographic elephant in the room is Nikon – although it is one of the most recognizable keywords for cameras, its global market share has fallen by 4 , 9% to 13.7% in 2020. But the signs look more promising. this year – last week, Nikon released its financial results for the first quarter of 2021, which revealed that its revenue from mirrorless cameras nearly doubled from 2020 amid a major upturn in device sales digital photo overall.

Understandably, factors like exchange rates and accounting nuances can muddy the waters when it comes to financial results, but it seems reasonable to expect Nikon to make up some of the ground lost in 2020 – and it is. supported by exciting new launches like the Nikon Zfc.

Front shots of the Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6 side-by-side

(Image credit: Canon)

Lose focus

What’s not yet clear, however, is the overall size of the on-camera pie by the end of 2021 – and there are big concerns for the future. In a recent Q + A for investors, Canon said that “while the EOS R5 / R6 is doing well, we don’t expect a significant recovery in the camera market.”

Worryingly, he added that although the global chip shortage has had an impact this year, saying “we do not anticipate that the number of cameras sold will increase steadily in the future, and we will focus on maintaining current market share and market size “. .

In the short term, therefore, camera fans could see an increase in new launches of mirrorless cameras like the Nikon Zfc, as the Big Five manufacturers vie for their share of the pie. But there’s no doubt that the best phone cameras are shrinking the size of this market – and the photo buffet may ultimately have less choice, if today’s post-pandemic trends continue.

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