Canon and Nikon Report Sales Drop of Over 17% Since Last Year

Canon and Nikon Report Sales Drop of Over 17% Since Last Year

As per their newly released financial reports covering sales for the first quarter of 2019, both Canon and Nikon suffered a decline in imaging business sales of around 17% when compared with 2018.

Canon’s report shows they were 17% down on last year, meanwhile Nikon’s results reveal a marginally worse decline of 17.9%. The news comes as both companies continue to see the market for dedicated cameras shrink, in part thanks to an increase in the capabilities of smartphones cameras, with sales cutting into those of DSLRs.

Canon says:

The 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. 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.

Nikon says:

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. However, unit sales of both digital camera-interchangeable lens type and compact digital cameras fell amidst the shrinking market.

Nikon states they are aware further declines in camera business may lay ahead, given the uncertain economy and rising camera competition. They also predicted the camera market will continue to shrink overall, while full-frame interchangeable lens cameras will hold their ground.

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Sridhar Chilimuri's picture

Apart from the usual smart phone reasons I can attribute some of Nikon loss of sales to their poor production efficiency. They made us wait for the D850 for a long time. Now we have to wait for their 500 mm lens. I think when you make a good product you need to keep up with production numbers before people switch to another product. The new customer is used to getting most products in a timely manner. Nikon needs to step up!

Fritz Asuro's picture

Well to be fair with Nikon, they actually faced a lot of challenges in terms of production.

But despite of D850's delayed delivery, I think it was one of the best DSLRs ever made.

Sridhar Chilimuri's picture

Agree - I love the D850 and liking the Z7 very much too!

Andrew Morse's picture

I don't think they've released their Q1 report yet, but I'll be curious to see how they do simply because as Canon has stated, the low end of the range is getting eaten up by competition from smart phones. Since Sony has rested their hat on the high end, they may not see as much of a drawdown since their a7/a9 series cameras aren't competing with smartphones in the same way that a rebel would be. Also, in 2014 (the most recent info I could find) Sony was listed as producing the smartphone camera module sensors for as much as 40% of cell phones, so their business will likely be somewhat insulated from losses in the ILC industry.

Similarly, Canon expanded into medical imaging and is now talking about B2B work, and vehicle camera modules. The bottom line is comparing quarterly results for these companies (even within narrow business lines) can still be difficult to determine who competing more proficiently. I take all the quarterly results with a grain of salt.

Sridhar Chilimuri's picture

Sony too all companies - I was only interested in buying Nikon products so my comments alluded to them.

eran yardeni's picture

my take on that would be that digital cameras has reached some kind of maturity say 5 years ago or so. i use 3 D800 cameras and and they are pretty sufficient for almot any kind of job

Motti Bembaron's picture

True. I use a D3 (and D750) and still love the results. Those two will serve me for many more years.

David Pavlich's picture

I went to a lecture on owls. The advert recommended bringing a camera. The smallish venue was full with 32 participants. There was ONE camera there; mine. All other photos of the Great Northern Owl were taken with phones. 'Nuf said. :-)

taluno taleni's picture

Fun to hear that, not long Canon told us that us the professional are no more "that interesting" market....

nogalas whisky's picture

what Thom Hogan wrote: "To make a change in results I believe Nikon needs to make changes in management. Otherwise we're just repeating the same story over and over."

Mike Stern's picture

Article about Canikon’s loss while mentioning Sony’s success would have put everything in spectrum.

Daniel Lee's picture

It would be very interesting to see Sony's camera sales too, not their profit. All the sensors inside those smartphones and Nikon bodies are Sony made so as long as smartphones are being sold, they will continue to make money.

Alric Farmer's picture

My take on it:

Nikon and Canon where only focus on out doing each other. That Gave Sony the head start into into mirrorless.

Nikon and Canon were blind sided thinking mirrorless was a fab. Sony and Fuji wowed new photographs and those wanting to update. They introduced budget friendly options with firmware updates. They also listened to what photographers wanted and gave it within months.

Nikon and Canon fall is that there camera are priced high , I believe that it is because they have many 3rd party lens and flashes competitors. Fuji can sell their camera cheaper and make more off lens sales.

The photography market became saturated with choice both mirrorless and dslr. The consumer was (is) spoilt for choice.

Those who needed up upgrade have already upgraded and the market will see them by another body in 3-5 years from now. So that leaves the newbees and I would guess that not going to spend $2000 on a body they going to buy the $800 kits and give it a try.

In South Africa Fuji and Sony has been marketing like craze giving camera on loan to try out , hosting open days , workshops with models to try out the gear and many people have switched. My friends that have not switched are saving up for Sony. As Song and godox system due to youtube marketing is the dream goal for them...Oh for one Nikon flash SB 910 flash you can buy 2 godox units AD 200 . People are weighing up price with output and if the outputs are the same for a lower price they will switch...

I tested the Z6 for a weekend and its awesomely because I have a D750 and the battery fits and the dials are familiar. I would buy it if it was the same price as the Futi XT3. The Z6 has many things going for it but price is not one of them.

Steve Harwood's picture

OK--Practically everyone has a smart phone. Visit your local retailer and they may have, what, ONE phone that doesn't have a camera in it? Even my elderly father-in-law's flip phone has a camera in it! So why--over a decade after they were introduced--are we still blaming the smartphone for the demise of the DSLR camera lines? Could it really be the price? Features (or lack of anything really innovative)? Greed? Maybe it's priorities? (Canon--why do you have to make, like, six different 70-200 zoom lens???) Simple mismanagement? Yes--I know that phones have changed the camera market--completely killed the point-n-shoot category! But they've been blaming smartphones far too long...