Believe It or Not, Canon Leads the Mirrorless Market in Japan

Believe It or Not, Canon Leads the Mirrorless Market in Japan

It's no surprise that Canon dominates the DSLR market in Japan (and elsewhere), but they're not exactly at the forefront of mirrorless technology. Nonetheless, they took over the top spot from Olympus in the second quarter of 2018.

The news came when Canon released their second quarter results for this year, in which they claim they are number one in mirrorless market share in Japan. The news may be a bit surprising, but Canon attributes part of the success to the carefully positioned EOS M50. Overall, the ILC market continues to shrink, although the rate was slowed as compared to other recent periods.

Canon notes that in the second half of the year, they plan to "aggressively use social media" to continue to expand, with a specific focus on advanced amateurs. I think it's interesting to note that neither Canon nor previous leader Olympus make a full frame mirrorless camera. This could underscore Canon's plan to go after advanced amateurs. While full frame is exciting for professionals, the vast majority of amateurs I see are shooting APS-C or smaller cameras, and while Canon is planning to address the full frame mirrorless market, a good chunk of their revenue from mirrorless cameras may come from what's already out there. Nonetheless, with full frame mirrorless cameras on their way from both Canon and Nikon, the landscape is about to get quite interesting. 

You read the full report here.

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Tony Tumminello's picture

Canon certainly knows how to position their cameras to fill every last price point and it seems they're doing the same with their mirrorless lineup. Can't afford the M5? That's ok, there's the M6. Can't afford that? No problem, there's the M50. Still too expensive? That's fine, they have the M100!

I've noticed that they do a lot of advertising too. I see ads for the M50 all the time, can't think of the last time I've seen an ad for anything Sony, Nikon, Olympus, etc. Cameras for every budget and always staying visible even if you're not someone who clicks on ads, seems like they have a solid and generally successful strategy going on, even if people don't always like them as a company.

michaeljin's picture

Not surprised at all as name recognition is a HUGE thing. Regular consumers, rather than enthusiasts or professionals, still make up the bulk of sales and unless you're an enthusiast or professional, it's doubtful that you know enough about the market or are following it closely enough to take Sony very seriously. Although it's certainly beginning to change, ask you average random person on the street what companies they would associate with photography and Sony would probably not come up too often, nor would Fuji or Panasonic.

This is one reason I'm not very worried about Canon hopping into the mirrorless market. They could release something completely mediocre and it would probably still hit #1 in sales... It's pretty absurd, really.

I've seen the statement that Canon mirrorless sells better than Sony on japan. It seems true, but if although canon sells a large market share of the bodies, they're losing a lot of sales volume.

A healthy marketshare is important but once you've got that you need added value customers and not people buying 300-400$€ kits. Photography is shifting towards high value and low volume, and canon and nikon aren't shifting very well towards this trend.

Nikon for instance has much lesser sales volume Sony because in the last four years they've cut their income by half (camera division).

Canon is pumping low value kits (as the last rebels) to hold their market share, but their revenue and profits are falling slowly.

Sony has to show their results, but while the other big 2 have lost some income and profits (canon) and lost a dramatical share of customers and income (nikon) Sony is holding in plain since 2014.

TLDR it's easy to get market share when your selling 400 bucks cameras.

michaeljin's picture

In response to your TLDR:

Sony, Olympus, and Panasonic all have options at a similar price point to Canon's offerings so it seems to be about a bit more than just low priced cameras.

Canon is selling all new model and in all price range, where at least Sony is still selling a 4yr model as their entry model. Sony has pretty much gave up on asp-c, like releasing one lens in last 2 years.

In many Asian countries, Canon still rules the world. Canon or you're not a photograper that should be charging money. This includes Nikon which only has a small niche marketshare. So when I read Sony users say Canon is going to go out of business, they sound especially foolish.

Anonymous's picture

All I know is that Canon's marketing is on point.

I cite this, currently playing in Australia, as case in point:

David Pavlich's picture

The mirror less fans on DPR will have to be put on suicide watch with this announcement. :-)

David Moore's picture

I like my M6 well enough. *shrug*

Emmet Adriaans's picture

Canon has extremely strong brand recognition in Japan. I wish they tried as hard in their North American markets.