Digital camera manufacturers have recorded disastrous sales and revenue during the first quarter of 2014, with shipments declining for both fixed-lens and interchangeable lens systems, as shown in the latest industry reports.
Keeping track with digital camera shipments is probably easier these days. The main reason consists of the fact that there is less data to work with as the total quantity of shipments dropped dramatically during the first quarter of 2014 when compared to the first quarter of 2013.
The Camera & Imaging Products Association, commonly-known as CIPA, has revealed how many digital cameras and lenses have been shipped in Q1 2014 and the numbers are pretty grim when compared to the ones recorded in Q1 2013, numbers that were already considered dreadful.
Total digital camera shipments went down by almost 35% in Q1 2014
The CIPA report shows that digital camera shipments in Q1 2014 have reached a total of about 9.22 million units. The numbers include both interchangeable lens systems and compact cameras with fixed lenses.
This represents a year-over-year decrease of about 35%, considering the fact that about 14.1 million digital cameras were shipped in Q1 2013.
The severity of the downtrend is more obvious when looking at the Q1 2012 shipments, when more than 24.9 million ILCs and compacts were shipped worldwide.
Disastrous downtrend in compact camera shipments
As expected, the main cause of the decline is represented by compact cameras with built-in lenses. CIPA’s Q1 2014 report shows that more than 6.37 million compacts were shipped during the first three months of this year.
This would not necessarily be a bad thing, but the numbers account for a plummet of about 41.5%. To put things into perspective, more than 10.8 million fixed-lens shooters were shipped in Q1 2013. Economical factors and the ever increasing smartphone shipments have surely contributed to this outcome.
Although sales increased in March 2014 (compared to January and February 2014), the numbers have not increased at the same rate with the March 2013 shipments’ surge (compared to January and February 2013).
DSLR and mirrorless camera shipments have also declined in Q1 2014
The news is not so bad when it comes to interchangeable lens cameras as more than 2.84 million units were shipped in Q1 2014. A drop is there, but it stands at only 11%, which is a “respectable” decrease (if we can say so), considering the disaster in the fixed-lens camera category.
During Q1 2013, CIPA says that more than 3.2 million cameras with interchangeable lens support (including DSLRs and mirrorless units) were shipped across the world.
Interchangeable lens camera shipments are expected to increase in Q2 2014. However, the numbers will still be smaller than the ones recorded in Q2 2013, unless something extraordinary happens.
Lens shipments decreased, too, but the downturn is not so dramatic
The best news out of this collection of bad news comes from the lens department. According to CIPA, lens shipments have reached just over 4.91 million units in Q1 2014, a decrease of about 8% when compared to the amount of units shipped in Q1 2013.
One surprising fact comes from February 2014, when more than 1.62 million lenses were shipped. This represents a 1.4% year-over-year growth when compared to the 1.59 million lens shipments recorded in February 2013.
Similar to interchangeable lens camera shipments, lens shipments are expected to rise in Q2 2014 when compared to Q1 2014, but they will go near the Q2 2013 levels.
Sales and revenue are down across Europe and the Middle East, GfK reports show
GfK, the popular market and consumer research firm based in Germany, also released its initial GfK Temax reports for Q1 2014. These statistics refer to sales, instead of shipments, as GfK gathers its data from retailers as opposed to manufacturers.
As expected, GfK’s data goes hand in hand with CIPA’s reports – sales and revenue have dropped across the world, except for one market, where they have actually increased. Please be aware that not all country reports are ready at this time for Asia, so other markets may show some sales improvements for Q1 2014.
The situation is bleak across Europe as not a single country – from the ones analyzed – recorded an increase in camera and lens sales in Q1 2014. The biggest drop has been recorded in Romania, standing at -39.8% when compared to Q1 2013.
Among the countries where things are not so bad we can find Hungary with a sales drop of only 4.1% and the United Kingdom with an 8.1% decline. Germany, the biggest market in Europe for digital cameras, has recorded a 16% sales reduction for this segment in the aforementioned period.
Another disastrous area consists of Turkey and the Middle East. A drop of 36.1% has been recorded in Turkey, while in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates drops of 21.4% and 16.4%, respectively, have been registered.
Finally, some good news from Japan! But it is enough?
According to GfK, digital camera sales have increased in at least one market. We’re talking about Japan, the home country of most camera manufacturers, where revenue has climbed by 18.2%.
Still, the overview of all the available data shows that the camera industry is in chaos. Shipments and revenue are plummeting with no end in sight. Although some markets are bringing good news, it is too little to compensate for the massive losses recorded across the globe.
At the beginning of 2014, CIPA estimated that the overall shipments in 2014 will be close to the numbers registered a decade ago. It is said that shipments will decrease to around 50-55 million units, down from the 62.8 million units shipped in 2013 and just below the numbers from 2004.