DIY Photography posted this disheartening article this morning: CAMERA SALES REPORT FOR 2016: LOWEST SALES EVER ON DSLRS AND MIRRORLESS
The numbers are looking grim: the entire camera market in 2016 was 81% below where it was in 2010. Mirrorless camera sales have basically been stagnant for the last three years, probably in part because both Nikon and Canon have had very lackluster offerings in that segment. Meanwhile DSLR sales are dropping fast and non-interchangeable lens cameras even faster.
The main reason behind this drop is of course the rise of the smartphone and its rapidly increasing photographic abilities. This has literally killed the compact digicam market which used to be a big cash cow for the camera industry. Smartphone are getting so good that they are also encroaching on the mirrorless market.
But there is another factor, which I will call the “coolness” factor. The iPhone generation wouldn’t be caught dead with a camera, it is viewed as uncool. So even after some of these young folks fall in love with photography, most of them do not move up to a real camera. This leaves a shrinking market of professional photographers with big DSLRs and older folks like me who learned photography in the film days and who still appreciate the features and handling of a real camera. I think also that as the camera technology has gotten so good, the update cycle for most people has gone from every year or so to every 3-5 years or more. This is really shrinking the market.
So I think we will see more brands disappear and the few that are left standing will concentrate on higher-end and higher-price cameras for those truly discerning photographers while most of rest will be content with their smartphones. We’ve already lost many during the transition from film to digital and we just heard last week about Nikon being in serious trouble. The golden days of photography are behind us.