While Sony’s vastly diversified portfolio of businesses is weathering the pandemic, the imaging side of the business saw earnings cut in half for the past quarter versus the year prior. Sony’s financials reporting methods make it difficult to tease out camera-specific trends, as they lump cameras into “electronics” that includes many other product categories and sensors into a separate “imaging” division. Sony predicts increased camera sensor sales for the second half of this fiscal year, yet decreased camera sales of its own Sony branded cameras. Because Sony sells more than half of the mirrorless camera sensors in the world, this implies that Sony’s figures anticipate a continued loss of market share.
Interestingly, buried in the notes of a speech given to describe the quarterly results was a reference to Sony’s expectation that smartphones will be moving to larger-die-sized sensors in the coming years, a trend already seen in the China market, but less so elsewhere.
Unlike some camera manufacturers, the corporate division of Sony responsible for camera sales remains profitable, and the company indicates that it is deferring certain manufacturing investments, it is continuing with normal research and development operations. Over the past three years, research expenditures in the electronics category have decreased roughly 5 percent per year.