Monthly data released by the Japanese Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) shows the camera market remains stable with a strengthening mirrorless sector.

This graph compares worldwide camera shipments from Japanese companies over the past three years, showing a steadying of volumes in the first six months of 2023. (Source: CIPA.)

The latest figures show a steady increase in shipments between January and May, which appears to be seasonal (due to winter in the Northern Hemisphere) with a return to the average in June. Shipments during the last half of 2021were influenced by COVID lockdowns and associated restrictions, although numbers appeared to have recovered during the following year.

We’ve carried out our own analysis of the extensive figures released by CIPA on a monthly basis (currently up to and including June). This provides a ‘picture’ of the structure of the market, confirming the relatively low status of fixed-lens cameras and even lower production of DSLR cameras, compared with the increasing dominance of mirrorless cameras.

These two graphs provide a breakdown of the three sectors of the camera market – fixed-lens, DSLR and mirrorless – for both production volumes and production values.

The dominance of the mirrorless camera sector reflects the shift in manufacturing from DSLR to mirrorless. Neither Canon nor Nikon has released a new DSLR camera since 2020 and, of the other manufacturers, only Pentax continues to make DSLRs, albeit in relatively small volumes to cater for a largely Japanese market. Europe and North America are purchasing roughly 70% of the DSLRs being shipped, possibly because of competitive pricing as re-sellers offload older models.

At the end of 2022, CIPA forecast total camera shipments for 2023 would be around 7.4 million units, which is 92.4% of the previous year. The fixed-lens sector is predicted to become smaller, reaching just 80.8% of the previous year’s volume. This is likely to be associated with accelerating growth in the smartphone market, which is predicted to reach around 1.45 billion units in 2023.