Canon Inc. is the largest photographic equipment manufacturer in the world. The following commentary accompanied their latest financial results for Q1, 2019. As you can see, sales of DSLRs are still declining and Mirrorless cameras are on the rise, again. However, the name of the game is Profitability. Canon must strive to get the maximum profits from a combination of DSLRs, Mirrorless and Lens sales.
"In the first quarter, sales of interchangeable-lens cameras were down 19% to 850 thousand units. This reflects the combined impact of accelerated market contraction for DSLRs, in particular entry-level models, and economic slowdown in China, which is a sizeable market for interchangeable-lens cameras.
The habit of capturing images with smartphones with improved cameras has become a part of daily lives of consumers. As a result, the market for entry-level DSLRs is contracting at a pace that exceeds the outlook we had at the beginning of the year. That said, we expect the user base of professionals and advanced-amateur, people who value the image quality and expressive possibilities afforded by cameras with large sensors and an abundance of interchangeable-lenses to remain. For the market overall, however, we expect the trend of market contraction to continue for some time.
In light of these circumstances, we decided to reexamine our full-year projections for the market and our own unit sales. We now expect the market and our own unit sales to decline 17% to 8.6 million units and 4.2 million units, respectively.
Mirrorless cameras, known for being small and lightweight, are increasing their presence in the market. Amid this situation, we will steadily shift our focus from DSLR to mirrorless cameras with the aim of maintaining our overwhelming competitiveness, which we have built upon DSLRs.
In the first quarter as well, we grew our unit sales of mirrorless cameras at a pace far exceeding the overall market, thanks to such new products as the EOS M50 and EOS R. Additionally, at the end of the quarter, we further enhanced our lineup, with the launch of the EOS RP, a smaller and lighter mirrorless camera equipped with a full-frame sensor and the same new mount found on the EOS R. Additionally, we plan to release six new models of RF lenses within the year. Users have not only praised the performance of these bodies and lenses, but also expressed their high expectations for the R system overall having felt our sense of urgency in strengthening our lineup over a short period of time. We will work to maintain sales growth of the EOS RP, which got off to a flying start, while also successively launching new RF lenses as we work to further stimulate sales of our strengthened mirrorless lineup.
From a profit perspective, in the full-frame sensor category where particularly high growth continues, even among mirrorless models, we will work to improve our product mix, actively expanding sales of both R System products. Additionally, for lenses with high profitability, we will not only promote sales of RF lenses, but also continue to promote the appeal of our broad range of EF lenses. Furthermore, we will work to expand automation initiatives not only to other products, but also other processes, raising our cost competitiveness and linking this to a recovery in profitability."