The camera market is struggling, and Canon isn’t beating around the bush when it talks about future camera sales.
Another day and another nail has been hammered into the coffin of the camera market. Again, Canon has come out and said that the market has a future of doom and gloom due to decreasing camera sales. In fact, they reckon it’s so bad that you think the market is in free fall; you haven’t seen anything yet. Is there any hope of saving the camera industry? After the break, we’ll take a look at what Canon is predicting, and we’ll don our superhero capes and spout off ideas that could help turn things around.
A recent post on Light Stalking brings to focus some comments made by Canon’s General Manager of the Image Communication Business Division, Takeshi Tokura. During a recent interview, Takeshi Tokura says that Canon predicts that digital cameras’ future sales will fall to just 8.2% of the sales in 2010. In 2010, 121.5 million camera units were sold. Now, Canon is predicting that less than 10 million units will be sold annually. That’s a staggering difference.
It’s clear to see just what an impact smartphones have truly had on the market. So, what’s Canon’s plan to help overcome new obstacles? They say that they will cut development and eliminate product lines. Basically, they will hyperfocus on their moneymakers and the products that offer more than just the point and shoot experience you get from a smartphone. They are also going to increase their focus on functions and services. So, what do we think will help get the camera market back on track? Read on below to find out.
Manufacturers Need to Streamline Their Offerings
Canon would do well to cut down on the number of cameras they offer. Every camera manufacturer would do well to offer less. Let’s face it, the camera market is a mess. There are so many camera models on the market that are virtually identical that it creates confusion for no reason. Designing, developing, and manufacturing these models must be a massive financial drain on these companies.
Let’s look at Canon real quick. They have their DSLR Rebel line, and their 5D, 6D, and 7D lines still available. All of those models have multiple variations. There’s the Rebel T7, T7i, T8i. You have the 5D IV, the 5DS, the 5DSR. You can still buy the Canon 6D and the 6D II. Then there are cameras like the 77D, 80D, and 90D. There are 11 camera models right there just in DSLRs. We haven’t even mentioned their new Mirrorless RF mount cameras, their EF-M mount cameras, or their point and shoots. What a mess.
Other manufacturers are the same. Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony. These companies all have multiple cameras that are essentially identical apart from small variations in body design. It’s time to simplify. These manufacturers need one point and shoot, one fixed lens camera, one entry-level APS-C, one pro-grade APS-C, one entry-level full-frame camera, one full-featured Full-Frame camera, and one pro-oriented camera (think 1DX III). These are seven well-defined models that cater to different markets. That’s much better than having a catalog of cameras that are pushing 20 or 30 models.
Focus on the High-End Only
Now, this is something that Canon has said they might do going forward. Cameras in phones are honestly good enough for most people these days. The only people who need ILC cameras are hobbyists and those who work in the profession. It’s plausible that companies like Canon could ditch all entry-level options and focus only on their pro-grade cameras. Perhaps we need to move to a marketing model where there’s just one feature-packed APS-C camera, one well-rounded fixed lens camera, a pro-grade Full-Frame option, and of course, a pro-body camera. This would streamline things even more. They wouldn’t necessarily have to raise the prices of these options above where they are now. However, focusing on just these lines will stop them from hemorrhaging money on lines that simply do not sell anymore.
Innovate, and Camera Sales Will Come
Cameras really haven’t changed much. Sure, we have switched to Mirrorless bodies. Autofocus systems have improved, and processing power has increased. However, nothing has changed that would make someone want to ditch their phone for a dedicated camera. No wonder camera sales are down the pan. Why, in 2021, do we not have any cameras that can leverage the amazing wireless networks we have? Why don’t we have cameras that can connect to a network and allow users to instantly upload images to social sites and photo sharing services like 500px and Flickr? It’s really quite ridiculous. Why is AI still only a half fleshed out idea? Smartphone makers are excelling in this area. Sure, strides have been made, but there’s a need for bigger steps to be taken here.
Make a camera that the masses want. Give them the ability to be instantly gratified from their camera. This isn’t rocket science. In this day and age, sharing with the masses is important. If you want people to pick up a dedicated camera, make it do what smartphones can do. Take the fight back to Apple, Samsung, LG, Huawei, and others instead of cowering in the corner.
These are just a few ideas on how camera manufacturers could turn the market around and increase camera sales. Still, we know there are many more things at play other than just camera models on the market. It’s a lot more complex than that. Still, something has to be done to get more than just die-hard photographers excited about cameras again. What do you think camera manufacturers need to do? Let us know in the comment section below.