CIPA (CAMERA & IMAGING PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION) has released its 2009-2011 outlook for digital camera sales.
In summary, in 2008 a total of 119,757,000 digital cameras were shipped (up 19.3% from 2007 based on volume), with DSLR’s accounting for 9,687,000 units (a year-on-year increase of 29.7%). Lens sales totaled 15,655,000 units shipped on a volume basis (a year-on-year increase of 25.1%).
The forecast for 2009 is for unit volume to drop 790,000 units to 118,971,000 units overall (a year-on-year decrease of 0.7%). However while sales of most types of camera will decline, they are actually predicting DSLR sales will increase by approximately 660,000 units to 10,349,000 units (a year-on-year increase of 6.8%). They are also predicting strong demand for lenses, expecting an increase of approximately 960,000 units for a total of 16,610,000 units (a year-on-year increase of 6.1%).
I'm struggling with these numbers. From people and businesses I'm in contact with daily, a different picture is being painted: one of a modest projected sales decline this year, especially for DSLR's and lenses. The global economic crisis is taking its toll, with less money in the system and in general people saving more and spending less when and where they can. Combine this with significant price increases globally due to currencies around the world falling against the yen, and you'd expect unit volume to actually decrease as unit price increases.
For 2010 and 2011, they are anticipating an economic recovery, and projecting digital camera sales to increase by 2.9% in each of these years. DSLR's are expected to be the faster growing segment, with unit sales increasing 8.6% in 2010 and 7% in 2011. They are projecting similar for lenses, with 8.2% unit growth in 2010 and 6.6% in 2011.
While there are a lot of pros out there, the vast majority of purchasers of DSLR's are hobbyists who don't actually need the latest and greatest. It'll be extremely interesting to watch how the actual numbers match up to these projections. I know we are going to be spending less in 2009.
Download the press release from CIPA (pdf file).