2013 was a very bad year for the photography industry. CIPA (the Camera & Imaging Products Association) published the official numbers a few weeks ago, and LensVid made the above graphic to distill some of the more salient facts and data.
Last year, the industry experienced a 25%, 19% and 20% drop in mirrorless, DSLR camera and lens shipments, respectively, compared to 2012. There is no single answer to the decline although a few things have contributed to the overall drop. The cameras in smart phones are getting much better. Mirrorless camera sales are only a hit in Asia, the rest of the world is not very excited by this technology. Could people feel less wealthy to indulge in the latest photographic gear when they can make do with the ones they already have?
I have my own opinions on this and made some observations and suggestions on Canon but it can apply generally to the photography industry as a whole. Since I have been using Canon equipment for 25 years, I will limit my comment to this company. In the last few years, many models came out but most of the them are same old technology wrapped in slick marketing campaigns or fluffy technology that serves little purpose.
There are only 3 cameras that represent a meaningful advance in the last few years - EOS-7D, EOS-5D and EOS-1D X. Some consumers are beginning to see through the hype and decide to keep their present equipment instead. So Canon decided to increase the features of some cameras and lower their prices. Giving more for less is not a winning, long term strategy. Most customers are willing to pay more to get more. Paying less and getting more is the same definition as deflation and can be very injurious to any business. It is important to point out Canon Inc. is a very large, multi-billion dollar company and photography sales represent only a fraction of its overall business. They are the largest photography company in the world and will definitely bounce back.
I am going on a tiger/wildlife photo shoot in India and will not be able to write this Blog while I am away. You can visit my MichaelDanielHo.com to see my works until I return in late March.