Camera sales are continuing to pick up in 2017 after years of decline

camera industry cipa april 2017 68506846  different make of cameras on the table
Suwinai Sukanant / 123RF

February’s increase in camera sales for the first time in years wasn’t just a glitch — the latest numbers from the Camera and Imaging Products Association continue to show that the camera industry is stabilizing after years of decline.

The latest data shows that camera sales overall have started to straighten out in 2017, with the numbers for January through April, the latest available, showing between a 1.7-percent decline to a 7.1 percent growth over the previous year’s sales. In 2016, data from the same time period ranged from a 31.7-percent decline to a 14-percent decline.

Interchangeable lens cameras as a whole are continuing to have the most influence on the market, showing an 7.4-percent increase in April over sales from the same month in 2016. While in the first four months of the year, DSLRs declined by nine percent from 2016, their non-reflex siblings (which includes mirrorless, compact camera systems and rangefinders) sold 50.6 percent more bodies than the same time from 2016. That brings the total shipments for all interchangeable lens bodies between January and April to 8.7 percent of last year’s numbers.

While mirrorless cameras have grown more than DSLR sales over the past year, the older style continues to sell more, at nearly 2.4 million DSLRs in the first four months compared to about 1.3 million non-reflex cameras.

Cameras with built-in lenses, meanwhile, are selling at about 98 percent of the total shipments for January through February of 2016, totaling about 4.5 million cameras shipped.

The total numbers have over 8.2 million cameras shipping out, including both fixed lens and interchangeable cameras. The data is only from CIPA members — that includes most of the major players in the market including Canon, Sony, Nikon, Fujifilm and Panasonic but doesn’t include every manufacturer, most notably, Leica and medium-format companies Hasselblad and Phase One.

The 2017 numbers show the industry beginning to stabilize and show slight growth for the first time since sales started falling five years ago.