By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
While the iPhone wasn’t the first phone with a camera in it, it was the smartphone that made digital photography in the palm of your hand mainstream. As sales of smartphones rose over the last ten years, there was a steady drop in camera sales as users preferred the convenience of using a mobile device for not only photography, but also mobile filmmaking. But in 2017, something magical happened … camera sales rose again … by nearly ten percent. And mirrorless cameras can largely claim the credit.
The analysis comes from LensVid, who does an annual look at camera sales reports to gauge the health of the digital camera industry. Ever since 2010, LensVid has seen that sales for digital cameras has not only fallen from year to year, but the number of cameras manufactured has also dropped as a result. Lenses, by contrast have had an up and down experience, growing from 2010-2010, before starting a gradual decline until last year.
Then, in 2017, camera sales ticked upward, thanks largely to the popularity of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras like the Panasonic GH5 and the Sony α7SII. During the last four years, market share for mirrorless cameras has been steadily rising from 3 million in 2013, to 4.1 million in 2017. By contrast, DSLRs sales have been dropping from 13 million to 7.5 million. The result is a 32% increase in mirrorless cameras produced, and a 9% decrease in DSLRs produced in 2017.
Does that mean that mirrorless cameras are going to take over the industry and that DSLRs are on their way out? Maybe. The data indicates that mirrorless camera sales could equal DSLRs by the end of the decade. However, the data could show something else. While DSLRs are in a decline sales wise, it’s not as bad as it was in 2016, when it was at its worst. This could indicate the beginnings of a turnaround, but we won’t know for sure until 2019 when the new reports are analyzed.
Overall though, the total camera sales report shows an 8% sales increase, while lenses enjoy a 2% sales increase. This is certainly good news. But what is driving it? Not even LensVid knows. In fact, they are willing to admit that their predictions from last year that sales would continue to decline turned out to be all wrong. “Instead, the market jumped to 25 million units which means that we still have something to learn about the fundamental changes that the market is going through,” the report states.
I have a theory, though. I think that in the last ten years, while mobile users enjoy the convenience of shooting video with a smartphone, there’s a segment that has grown beyond the preference of making it easy. They want better video, better audio, and have turned photography and videography into their passion, hobby, and maybe even careers.
Couple that with the popularity of content creation to streaming portals like YouTube and Facebook, with travel blogs, cooking shows, and even cat videos, and you can see where that’s heading. And thanks to cameras getting WiFi connectivity to smartphone apps, they can have the best of both worlds. And as cameras begin to add the ability to have on board apps, this trend could continue.