CIPA 2013 report shows first-time decline in interchangeable-lens camera sales

by Felix Esser

posted Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 8:09 AM EST


Ever since the introduction of mirrorless camera systems such as the Micro Four Thirds system, the Sony E-mount system and the Fujifilm X-mount system, cameras with interchangeable lenses have been gaining in sales all around the world -- at least that's what we thought. While in fact the sales statistics for interchangeable-lens camera have shown a steady upward trend since the category's introduction in 2003, the latest CIPA report shows that in 2013, for the first time, sales of system cameras declined as compared to the year before.

While it's nothing new that overall camera sales have been on a downward spiral for a couple of years now, it seemed as though ILCs (both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras) were steadily gaining ground over cameras with fixed lenses. According to CIPA, that was true until 2012, but it changed for the first time in 2013. While the total number ILC units sold worldwide were roughly over 20 million in 2012 (see the CIPA report for that year), the figures shrank to slightly over 17 million in 2013. Meanwhile, the sales of fixed-lens cameras went from almost 78 million units worldwide in 2012 to less than 46 million units in 2013, so overall the sales decline of system cameras was still less than that of fixed-lens cameras.

When comparing the sales figures of DSLRs versus mirrorless cameras, the latter still sell significantly less well than their mirror-equipped brethren. To make things worse for manufacturers of mirrorless systems, their sales figures went from 3.96 million units worldwile in 2012 to 3.31 million units wordlwide in 2013, which is a decline of 16.5%. DSLRs, on the other hand, saw their sales figures shrink from 16.2 million units worldwide in 2012 to 13.8 million units worldwide in 2013, which is a decline of a little under 15%. So if anything, DSLRs won back lost ground over mirrorless in 2013, despite the overall decline in camera sales.

For 2014, the outlook is even worse according to CIPA. Their current estimate is that overall worldwide camera sales will shrink to 55 million units, down from just under 69 million units in 2013. For comparison, overall camera sales were almost 100 million units in 2012. This means that for 2014, camera sales are expected to go down to almost half the units sold two years before, which is a pretty grim forecast for the camera industry that has been constantly fighting declining sales in the past years.

(via heise Foto)