The Japan-based Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) has released the December figures for the camera market, completing the data set for 2021.













The latest graph of the camera market from 2019, 2020 and 2021. (Source: CIPA.)

This year’s figures show a steadying of the overall market, rather than the slight growth predicted 12 months ago. This is encouraging in the face of the waves of COVID-related shutdowns and problems associated with on-going parts supplies, which have hampered the manufacture of cameras and lenses (along with other unrelated products, such as vehicles). It’s still too early to predict when the market will recover fully, although a return to the relatively high figures achieved before COVID-19 struck is unlikely as the market was already showing a decline.
























These two graphs show the comparative three-year figures for fixed-lens and interchangeable-lens cameras. (Source: CIPA.)

Photo Review has prepared some comparative graphs of shipment volumes and values over the past 12 months, based on the latest CIPA figures. Readers should note camera and lens production figures are based on the Japanese market, which traditionally slows down over the mid-year summer holiday period and again in December as winter begins to bite and holiday periods are brief, despite Christmas festivities. The two graphs below provide a comparison of camera shipment numbers and market values for 2021.























These graphs confirm the increasing dominance of the mirrorless sector in the camera market, especially with regard to value. This reflects the overall higher prices for mirrorless cameras and lenses reflecting the higher levels of product sophistication in this sector. The up-tick in DSLR volumes in December coincides with the traditional worldwide gift-giving periods when affordably-priced DSLR kits are often purchased as graduation presents or by students about to embark upon photography courses. The on-going strength of fixed-lens cameras is, perhaps, surprising, since this market sector has been decimated by the growth in the smartphone market.  Examination of this sector reveals the main growth is in specialised long-zoom-range, ‘tough’ and water-resistant models and ‘prestige’ cameras from leading brands. Click here to visit the CIPA statistics website for more information.

An analysis of the Japanese retail market by BCN Retail provides a more nuanced view of the photographic products market based on sales data collected throughout Japan. The 2021 ‘;rankings’ showed Canon to be the market leader in the DSLR and fixed-lens sectors, with Sony ahead in the mirrorless sector. The figures for the various categories are as follows:

  • Fixed lens cameras (* The share in parentheses is last year’s share)
    1st place Canon: Share 34.01% (39.08%)
    2nd place Sony: Share 23.1% (19.65%)
    3rd place Fujifilm: Share 11.6% (11.41%)
  • DSLR
    1st place Canon: Share 59.8% (51.91%)
    2nd place Nikon: Share 33.9% (44.78%)
    3rd place Ricoh Imaging: Share 5.8% (3%)
  • Mirrorless
    1st place Sony: Share 32% (27.44%)
    2nd place Canon: Share 28.2% (23.78%)
    3rd place OM Digital Solutions: Share 12.7% (23.37%)
  • Digital video camera category
    1st place Panasonic: Share 43.6% (32.17%)
    2nd place Sony: Share 26.3% (37.27%)
    3rd place DJI: Share 11.2% (-)
  • Action camera category
    1st place GoPro: Share 70.4% (70%)
    2nd place Sony: Share 7.3% (7.49%)
    3rd place DJI: Share 5.3% (-)
  • Lenses
    1st place Canon: Share 17.6% (18.29%)
    2nd place Sony: Share 17.2% (15.87%)
    3rd place Sigma: Share 12.6% (14.89%)
  • Tripod / Monopod category
    1st place Hakuba Photo Industry: Share 29.1% (30.91%)
    2nd place Vitec Group: Share 15.5% (17.45%)
    3rd place Slick: Share 12.6% (10.74%)
  • Camera case / bag category
    1st place Hakuba Photo Industry: Share 33.3% (33.13%)
    2nd place ELECOM: Share 18.8% (16.68%)
    3rd place Vitec Group: Share 5.8% (5.92%)

Note: these figures come from the Digital camera info website and are not necessarily replicated in other countries.