A report from Japanese news agency, Nikkei, confirms what most in the photo industry have long suspected: it is no longer profitable to continue developing low-end compact cameras.

The latest data from the Japanese Camera & Industry Products Association (CIPA) shows production volumes and market values for the first six months of 2022, confirming the strong tend towards mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras and showing sluggish sales of low-priced compact cameras.

It has been evident for the past few years that smartphones have largely replaced point-and-shoot cameras because of their increasing capabilities and convenience. With compact cameras only representing 36% of global digital camera shipments in 2021, according to CIPA, and smartphones gaining more features and functionality, this trend is sure to continue. The report states:

  • Japanese camera manufacturers are bidding farewell to a once-major component of their operations, with Panasonic Holdings and Nikon suspending development of entry-level point-and-shoot cameras under their flagship brands. Panasonic is quoted in another report as stating: “in the future, the company plans to concentrate on developing high-end mirrorless machines aimed mainly at enthusiasts and professional filmmakers”. The companies will instead focus resources on pricier mirrorless models going forward, aiming to navigate a market upended by smartphones.
  • Fujifilm has discontinued production of its FinePix compact cameras and will develop only the X100V series and other pricier models.
  • Canon has not released any new Ixy/Ixus cameras since 2017. But the company acknowledges that “entry-level models continue to enjoy persistent support, so we’ll continue development and production as long as there is demand.”
  • Sony Group has not offered any new compact models under its Cyber-shot brand since 2019, although a spokesperson said that “it’s not that we’ll stop developing new products.” Casio Computer halted production of Exilim cameras in 2018.

according to Nikkei: The bright spot is the mirrorless segment, with global shipments jumping 31% on the year to 324.5 billion yen in 2021. Mirrorless single-lens models offer fat margins, and users replacing lenses and other parts will keep contributing to the manufacturers’ bottom lines.