CIPA: Fewer Cameras Sold, but For More $ (For Mirrorless At Least)

Jan 6, 2021 | Bodies, Canon, News, Retail

The November 2020 CIPA figures are out, and it appears that the camera business is moving through the bottom of the market trend, with mirrorless cameras now selling for more money in November than the same month the previous year.

There were fewer mirrorless cameras sold, but for about 11 percent more money than all the cameras sold in November 2019.

The trend for cameras generally was more pessimistic, drawn down by DSLRs, which sold about a quarter less, and integrated lens cameras, which sold more than a third less. The price per unit for those types of cameras did not increase.

The chart below shows interchangeable lens camera unit sales, showing reductions over time for the past three years. Not shown in this graph is the breakout of DSLR versus mirrorless, nor the revenues represented by these sales. Mirrorless is coming to dominate, currently with a 4:3 ratio, and revenues are increasing year-on-year for gross mirrorless cameras sold.

CIPA, a trade group of competing manufacturers, measures production and sales, but not profits. With mirrorless selling 15 percent fewer cameras, but amounting to 11 percent more revenue, it is likely that mirrorless manufacturers are dealing with quite better margins.

The industry shipped only 270,000 DSLRs in the month, but shipped 387,000 mirrorless cameras. Because the revenue for the DSLRs was down about the same amount as unit shipments, it appears that the release of Nikon’s and Canon’s “flagship” DSLRs in 2020 have not affected DSLR margins in an appreciable way.

The largest camera manufacturer, Canon, had great supply constraints that were starting to be relieved in November, so the EOS R5 and EOS R6 may have had an outsized impact on sales for the month, and also on the average price, as those cameras are expensive.

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