The Japanese Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) keeps a record of how many cameras are produced and sold worldwide. The latest figures for 2019 prove what is an open secret in the industry -- the market continues to shrink. Overall, almost 22% fewer cameras were delivered than in the previous year.
A somewhat more differentiated picture emerges, however, if one takes a closer look at the table broken down by category. Demand for cameras with fixed optics fell by 22%. Even greater losses were recorded for SLR cameras: sales fell by a full 32%, and even more sharply (by around 41%).
By contrast, the mirrorless system cameras are showing signs of stability again: in this segment, "only" 4.4% fewer units were delivered than in 2018, while a small sales increase was even achieved (3.6%). No wonder -- while fixed-optic cameras are becoming increasingly obsolete due to the smartphone cameras and hardly any new DSLRs are even coming onto the market, there are still some interesting new introductions in the mirrorless segment, especially in the premium segment.
Pansonic Lumix SH1, Nikon Z6
Nonetheless, in 2019, even more SLR cameras were sold overall than mirror lots (albeit at lower sales), although this seems to have changed since autumn. According to the statistics, more mirrorless cameras were delivered worldwide for the first time in October, as well as in November and December. However, there are major regional differences in this respect: In Asia, the interest in system cameras is generally greater, while in Europe and especially in America (North + South), DSLR sales have so far been predominant in terms of unit numbers.
Also lens sales are declining, by a total of approx. 21%. If one looks only at lenses for cameras with larger sensors, at least 35mm, the minus is approx. 14%, the sales decline is approx. 5.6%.
A similar development is expected for the coming year, although initial fears are emerging that there could be supply bottlenecks due to the measures taken in China to contain the corona virus. Numerous plants there are currently closed, but it is not clear when they will be able to resume operations. Sony, for example, has already announced that there will be problems in the production of image sensors, especially for smartphones (as well as for the PlayStation 4), if the situation in China does not normalise soon.