Sony Announces Dramatic Drop in Forecasted Sales

Sony Announces Dramatic Drop in Forecasted Sales

Just as Canon announced that profits from its camera division have dropped by almost two-thirds, Sony has given an indication that it is not optimistic for the future, predicting that it will sell 1.4 million fewer cameras than it did in 2017.

Sony published its financial results for the first quarter of 2019 on July 30 and digging through the company’s figures can be quite tricky, perhaps as companies have a tendency to make bad news slightly awkward to find.

Tucked away on page 4 of a document entitled “Supplemental Information” is an indication of how sales are performing and what Sony expects over the remainder of the year. In 2017, it sold 4.4 million cameras, dropping to 3.6 million in 2018. The company now anticipates another fall of 800,000 units by the end of 2019. It’s worth noting that these figures are for cameras and do not include information for sensors.

Screenshot from "Supplemental Information" from Sony's Earnings Releases

Screenshot from "Supplemental Information" from Sony's Earnings Releases, July 30, 2019.

As a huge company with a wide variety of products being reported, trying to gauge how cameras are performing in terms of sales is no simple task. As reported by PhotoRumors, Sony Corp has revised its forecasts down as sales of games consoles, televisions and smartphones have dropped off more quickly than expected. A combination of factors such as market saturation and various trade wars are having an impact.

From these figures, it’s impossible to have any idea of how Sony’s downturn compares to that of Canon. If you’ve any thoughts on this, be sure to leave a comment below.

My thanks to C.E. Teal for digging through the data.

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81 Comments

Previous comments
S M's picture

I just want to take pretty piccies

Ted Mercede's picture

Well, I would find it hard to believe that a pro would argue about giving them more tools to work with on either allowing them to do their job better or faster. At what price these tools would come may be another story, but if the camera bodies were competitively priced across the board, then pro's will look at what is being offered for the price.

Alec Kinnear's picture

Sony has both a high end video market and photography for them is a halo product, indicating the quality of their electronics in a visual way. The cameras help sell televisions at this point. On top of that Sony are the market leaders in sensor technology so the sector as a whole is very profitable for them. Their own camera line is an insurance policy to allow them to showcase their sensor technology.

There's no way Sony is leaving the photography market any more than they are leaving the audio market. Jan Kruize is not only annoying, but he's misguided.

Alec Kinnear's picture

That's true. DPReview especially but even fstoppers are chock up with full time Sony shills. I had no trouble shooting my Canon DSLR and have no trouble shooting my Nikon DSLR and Z6 now. I'm an actual ex-Sony – and so VERY happy about it – A7 III owner. Usability for adult male left eyed shooters is about a 3/10. It's impossible to use the viewfinder and the joystick or most of the other controls at the same time, fits poorly in the hand and has one of the most grating shutter noises I've ever heard.

Jason Lorette's picture

Camera companies started following the Mobile market of pumping out a new unit every year, it's just not sustainable. The average consumer cannot (and won't) drop $1K-$5K every year on a camera, "on top" of a new mobile phone. The average consumer cannot (and won't) drop $500-$1000 every year on a new point and shoot camera, "on top" of a new mobile phone (I still use a 7+). I use a D7100, I still have my D7000 as a backup...I'd love a D850 (or maybe even a "z" at some point)...but I don't have $5K and if I spent that I wouldn't be buying another camera for MANY years.

Tim Cray's picture

I agree with you there, Jason. I own a D850, D500, G9, SL2, and rx10 IV. I use each of them for different situations and I like everyone of them for a specific purpose. And they all take great photos. Oh NO! I must be a Nikon, Panasonic, Canon, and Sony "fanboy." LOL! But, seriously, these cameras will last me for the rest of my life. I won't be buying another camera. Especially, since photography is strictly a hobby to me. I don't take thousands of photos as the person who does it for a living. The only purchases I'll make in the future are for lenses. Then again, I'll be extremely selective on which lenses I buy, too.

Daniel Lee's picture

I’m surprised why the focus is always on Canon and Sony when it appears Nikon seems to be in the most trouble out of the big 3.
With Sony’s sensor business and Canon’s OLED Canon Tokki business they have nothing to worry about.

Tim Cray's picture

Neither does Nikon. They've been in the optics and camera business longer than either Sony or Canon.

Daniel Lee's picture

Just because they've been around longer doesn't necessarily mean they are safe.

Tim Cray's picture

That's true. No business, regardless of what they produce, is safe from a changing market. However, Nikon isn't even close to being in the most trouble. Canon and Sony are losing sales, too. If you knew what you were talking about, then you'd know that cameras aren't the only products produced by Nikon. Next time, do your research before spouting off about something you've obviously no idea about, Pal.

Daniel Lee's picture

Wow no need to get so upset about Nikon. I'm sorry if you feel so personally invested in them that you need to get this upset, I didn't mean to make you feel this way. All 3 are definitely losing sales but as Sony and Canon are bigger companies as a whole, they have less to worry about.

Tim Cray's picture

I'm not upset at all. I just don't care for people making comments without researching the facts. Do you even remotely know what other products Nikon produces? If not, I'll give you a few examples: semiconductor lithography systems, microscopes, iGPS and laser radar systems (industrial metrology) as well as a host of other products.

Samsung made good decision to leave sinking ship just in time

My first comment. I just retired. And decided to pick up photography again.( I have drawer ful oh nikon bodies from 1970 when I was in Vietnam) I bought a new Nikon z7. I am clearly an amateur!

In thinking about why the camera market is shrinking one cannot help but look at what’s going on with phones. First you’re basically giving them away and that includes the camera. I Respectfully submit that Verizon, Sprint, ect stores know very little about cameras,.
No longer are Nikon, Sony, ect sold in camera stores. Camera stores are very few and far between. Most real cameras are sold via internet B&H ect.,I bought my z7 directly from Nikon along with a lens. Why Nikon. Because I have owned and trusted the Nikon brand.

The reason I bought a Z7 bigger sensor and bigger picture area ect. Unfortunately Nikon has not followed up with Z lenses. Read that as a new telephoto, where the 50mm F 0.95?

My M B A thinking tells me deal with the cell phone. You can’t put a 43+ megapixel sensor in cell phone. Sell the quality of having a 43+ megapixel sensor vs an 8 megapixel sensor. Sell the quality of the lenses and the benefits. Advertise in the market you want to get into not the one you already have ie photograph magazines. Sell the ease of use, camera on automatic ect. Don’t get hung up on items like iso numbers. The new camera buyer doesn’t need to know that upfront he’ll get it as he learns how to use the camera more effectively and what it its potential is.

After all when was the last time you saw cell phones advertised for it’s ability and quality of the pictures it takes?

It’s not that the market is shrinking. The market is saturated with new manufacturers of high end cameras. You need to develop new markets! Think outside of the box!

I am available for consulting! hee hee hee. Just give me a jingle Nikon.

Alec Kinnear's picture

The Z lenses are phenomenal. In particular, the 50mm f1.8, the 85mm f1.8 and the 24-70mm f2.8 are all spectacular. The 35mm f1.8 S is excellent but not hugely better than the already very good 35mm f1.8G.

For telephoto, I can assure you that the very best 70-200mm in the world, Nikon's 2.8E FL works fantastically well on the FTZ adapter.

So Nikon is following up just fine with Z lenses. Are you following up your Z7 purchase with A+ photos though?

Warren, Nikon is doing just fine with their z mount lenses. And they have some of the best lenses available in their f mount, which you can use with your z camera using the free adapter they gave you. The adapter does not diminish the performance of the AFS f mount lenses on the z camera.

Sony, Canon and Nikon are all SO STUPID... no kidding.
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Mirrorless cameras makes for the perfect opportunity to make ALL the LENSES FOCUS FREE, yet nobody has done it. You see, with the absence of a mirrorbox, optical viewfinder, film transport and all the other nonsense eliminated by mirrorless designs, there is no reason to implement Autofocus or any find of focus in the lenses. You can achieve focus simply by moving the very light, postage stamp sized, image sensor back and forth. This is faster, cheaper and better than moving glass in the lens, not to mention you only have to implement it once not repeat it 65 times for 65 lenses in the lineup. It is not like they are not already moving the sensor, how the hell do you think in-body image stablization is achieved? That's right by moving the sensor up and down, left and right, as well as tilting it. Now just add back and forth and there need no moving parts in the lenses except the aperture and zoom (if present).

Alec Kinnear's picture

That's very innovative. I'm getting manual close focus out of a 7artisans Leica M mount 35mm f2 thanks to a lens adapter which goes forward and back.

Ash G's picture

I’ve been holding on to my 6D since 2016, waiting to for the next generation to come out. I’ll either stick with canon for the 6D iii, 5D mk V, but also see how it’ll compare to a sony A7 iv. That’s when I think a lot of us are going to make a definitive move.

As newer technology comes out, only people with deep pockets can go and buy the new gear. The occasional shooter and hobbyist and prosumers will wait for older models to be offloaded their in the secondary markets. I wonder if camera sales on the secondary markets have gone up during that time. I can speak for myself, that I am looking to the used market for “new” gear.