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LensVid Exclusive: What Happened to the Photography Industry in 2015?


As we did for 2013 and 2014, this year we are also publishing our analysis of the statistics CIPA (the Camera & Imaging Products Association) published regarding the photography industry in the passing year (2015). After two horrible years we were anxious to know if the photo industry finally bounced back – here are the answers and our predictions for 2016.

This is our third year that we have been covering the photography industry statistics here on LensVid (we have been doing that since 2009 on our sister site Megapixel). In 2013 we have seen the biggest fall of the camera industry in recorded history (40% percent drop in a single year). 2014 was only slightly less devastating with 31% drop). Almost all sectors of the photo industry suffered through these years including DSLRs, Mirrorless cameras, lenses and of course compact cameras which look much like the dinosaurs a few years after the meteor strike.

Here is a summery of what happened in 2015 (you can click to enlarge the infographic below for the full details:

  • 2015 was the third year of double digit drops in the number of cameras manufactured globally – this is surly not sustainable for any industry.
  • Reflex cameras have more or less settled at around 10 million units a year while mirrorless cameras gained a slight momentum – it is still far below some of the earlier predictions.
  • Compact cameras are becoming an extinct “species” with 2015 having only 1/6’th or so the number of compacts sold in 2010.
  • The European market is still the largest one with over a third of the total global market, however the Asian market continues to be the largest for lenses with 30% (and almost 45% with Japan).

New data – What Happened in 2015? (click to enlarge)

Infographics-2015-1920_1080How did we fare with our predictions from last time?

  • The camera market will continue to shrink in 2015 as well (possibly below 35 million cameras) – more or less exactly what happened.
  • We do think (and hope) that both the DSLR market and the mirrorless market will see at least some slight gains in 2015 – partly happened – the DSLR market did go down but the mirrorless gained a few percentages.

Here are our new predictions for what we think will happen in 2016:

  • 2016 will be a better year for the photography market. With that said, we still expect the total number of cameras sold in 2016 to be below 30 million – or around 15% decrease compared to 2015.
  • On the other hand, we expect more DSLR sales in 2016 – with a one digit increase, and more or less the same increase in mirrorless cameras.
  • We are predicting that compact cameras will drop below 20 million and may even get close to 15 million (compared to 22 million in 2015).
  • Finally, Looking a bit ahead in the next 2 years DSLRs and mirrorless cameras will have a bigger market share than compact cameras, which we are predicting – will become a niche market before the end of this decade.

Do you have your own thoughts about what will happen in 2016? let us know in the comments below.

You can check out more LensVid exclusive articles and reviews on the following link.

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