Camera Sales Shrank 40% in 2020

While monitoring the camera market over the past year has been like riding a volatile roller coaster, now that 2020 is behind us it can be properly evaluated as a whole. BCN+R, a major Japanese camera retailer, has released its data from the whole of 2020 and it is unsurprisingly pretty bleak.

Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the photography market was largely upended from its usual performance. To evaluate it, BCN+R ranking aggregated point-of-sale data of Japan’s domestic digital home appliance market. Specifically with cameras, it then broke that market into three segments: photography-focused digital cameras, video cameras, and PC-cameras (webcams).

According to its data, photography-focused digital cameras accounted for just 59.6% of sales compared to 2019, while video cameras saw only 68.3% of sales. Unsurprisingly, webcams ballooned in popularity and exploded for 359.3% of their previous year’s performance, which is 3.6 times the sales of 2019.

The photography market’s dip of 40%, though, looks bad on paper, but is directly correlated with coronavirus infection rates. The hope is that once the virus has been brought under control, the market can recover.

Some dip was expected because of the popularity of smartphones (a common scapegoat that was yet again referenced by BCN+R), so the 83.2% and 84.7% of the previous year’s sales in January was seen as nothing to be particularly worried about. It was only in March that digital camera sales started to dramatically fall, which peaked in April and May. At its worst, sales were down 60 to 70%.

The chart below shows sales figures for the three segments. Orange/red is photography cameras, blue is video cameras, and yellow is webcams:

From what can be seen in the chart, December did not offer much of the hoped-for upward-trending rebound that the previous months had started and instead trended downwards yet again.

The entire camera market ended the year at 100.4% of sales volume compared to 2019 but is largely due to the popularity of webcams that are less expensive. As a result, though volume was higher, the sales value was down 30%.

“Although (webcam sales) increased significantly, the unit price was low, so the sales amount could not be kept at the same level as the previous year,” BCN+R reports.

BCN+R writes that it is concerned that the market will continue to struggle since Japan’s government has manded another lockdown. Though camera sales were gradually recovering, because COVID-19 continues to be an issue the organization does not expect to see a complete recovery for some time.

(via Digicame Info)