Since 2010, the interchangeable lens camera (ILC) market has been decreasing at an alarming and steady rate. Now, it seems Canon is projecting this trend will not only continue on, but expects it to increase exponentially with claims the ILC market will be cut in half within the next two years.
In an interview with Nikkei [translated, paywall], Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai shared a few insights into where Canon sees both its future and the market going.
As summarized by CanonRumors, Mr. Fujio says its camera sales have decreased approximately 10% year over year since ILC sales hit their peak in 2010.
Currently, the global market for interchangeable lens cameras is estimated at 10 million units per year, according to both Mr. Fujio and CIPA data [PDF, page 2], but Canon expects that number to drop down to and plateau at roughly 5-6 million prosumer and professional cameras by the end of 2020.
Mr. Fujio also noted mirrorless camera sales aren’t adding to its bottom line, but are instead eating into the sales of DSLRs. This may very well have played into the reason Canon opted to release only one mirrorless camera in 2018 and doesn’t appear to be in a rush to get many more out by the end of 2019. It may have also been a factor in both Canon and Nikon taking so long to get into the full-frame mirrorless market; if all the capital put towards research and development (R&D) is only going to cannibalize your money makers, there’s not much need to rush the new technology.
To combat the declining revenue from ILC sales, Mr. Fujio says Canon plans to shift its focus to corporate sales rather than consumer sales over the coming years. As a result, Canon will be putting more emphasis — read: R&D — on industrial, surveillance, and medical imaging going forward.