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Sony's Camera Sales Are Down 3.5 Percent for the Quarter Compared to 2018

Sony's Camera Sales Are Down 3.5 Percent for the Quarter Compared to 2018

Sony just released a financial report for the second quarter of 2019 and sales are down compared to 2018.

While this might seem like a notable downturn in a company’s success, other camera manufacturers would probably be delighted with such a small drop, especially given that Canon just reported a fall in sales of almost 14%, and imaging profits plummeting more than 50%.

Canon itself has appeared to acknowledge that Sony’s aggressive pricing is having an impact on its profit margins, and right now there are some great deals to be had on mirrorless full-frame cameras. For example, the Nikon Z 7, a camera that was $3,400 when it was launched a year ago, is now available for less than $2,700.

With Sony being such a huge company, you have to do a bit of digging to find the figures. Contained in “Supplemental Information” are the figures for quarterly performance, with 103,034 million yen of sales to customers in the second quarter of 2018, compared to 99,606 million for the same quarter of 2019.

Sony lists that it sold 0.9 million units in the second quarter of 2018, compared to 0.7 million in 2019. Given the performance of the camera industry more broadly, this could seem like fairly decent performance. Sony’s forecast for total year sales of 3 million units is still on course.

Those suggesting that Sony is struggling to meet last year's performance because of a lack of significant updates among recent releases might want to consider that Sony's product cycle is about half that of Canon and Nikon, opting for incremental upgrades rather than dramatic new products. If you want significant updates, you probably need to wait another year or two.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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These aren't iphones. People don't need a new one every year to be trendy.

I think the drop for Sony is more significant than Nikon or Canon. It would be comparable to a Tesla drop against Ford or GM.

I hope that Sony finally reduce their release cycles to 3-4 years and not every 2 which is unnecessary

To add to that, keep the hardware release cycle to 3-4 years, but start working on putting out more updates via firmware to existing models more frequently, which could address missing features or existing deficiencies, that would make them much more attractive.

Not to say they don’t already do put out upgrades, just saying they could do more of this...

Yes firmware updates like the Real Time and Auto/Animal Eye AF are welcomed.

3-4 year is too long in the digital age. I take a lot of pictures/video with my iPhone(about 60gb this year) and I could not imagine waiting 4 years for an upgrade to a tool I use a lot. 2 years is good enough because no one is forcing you to buy the tick/tock version. I just got the a9 this january and glad that a new version is out so the older version is lower and there is an option to upgrade for those who need it or were using a7iii. while many are disappointed in a92 this is a benefit to more photographers in the long run.

Yes for phones it can seem too long but not for an ILC. The issue with regular upgrades is if you wait and say skip a generation, you will get very little for resale value and it will be more out of pocket.
This would be fine if we are seeing major upgrades with new sensors every 2 years but that hasn't been the case.
If you look at the A73 and it's position in Sony's lineup, there isn't much they could improve without blurring the line between the A7/R models. If they were to release one today, it could have the screen/EVF from the R3 but otherwise it is far ahead in other areas.
There was 4 years between the A7II and A7III so I'm hoping we see the same gap and when the A7IV comes out, it will create a big hype like the A7III did.

You have been telling similar kind of fables for years on end. And still, Canon hasn't come up with any camera that wasn't already behind the curve at the introduction. Denial in its highest form.

You know, it takes a peculiar kind of closed mind and blindness to do what you do. Even hard facts are ignored by you. It is kind of sad to be so blind to facts.

Hard facts? OK, here's a hard fact that's indisputable - the World Press Photo Contest 2019 was dominated by... no, not Sony, or mirrorless, but by good old fashioned DSLR's, particularly Canon. What does that tell you?


It tells you what the generation of old part shooters use.

You need a break from photography "news" and editorials. Perhaps your fervor would disappear?
I'm speaking from experience here and this isn't an attempt to troll you. It's an honest assessment. Obviously, you're free to dismiss it or consider it.

I don't comment much anymore. Don't see the need to. Thought I'd offer some advice based on experience and perspective. You've reminded me why I shouldn't bother.

When they announce an A7Siii or an A7iv sales should go up again, maybe more affordable lenses for full frame now that Tamron and Samyang are smashing it out of the ball park

Yep, their best seller is a couple years in now, so losing steam a bit.
I’m willing to bet their average sell price is going up, though. Most of the sales losses are in the lower end, and this chart is number of units sold, not revenue.

may be somebody made this comment already, but going from 0.9 to 0.7 million units shipped is way more than 3.5 %. (0.2/0.9)*100 is actually 22.2% or did I loose my understanding of percentage? so according to the article SONY did worse than Canon? or Not? what is it that I misunderstand?

That’s very interesting as SAR reported only 3.5% too!