Camera market has collapsed 84% since 2010

When Canon's CEO prognosticated that the camera market could shrink by half in two years, some questioned whether things were really that bad. According to the latest annual report by LensVid, however, things are exactly that bad, with an astonishing 84% drop in the camera market in just 8 years.

In 2010, the height of the industry, 121 million cameras were produced. In 2018, however, that number had eroded to just 19 million. 

The website's yearly report contains more sobering statistics. There was a 24% decrease in cameras shipped from 2017 to 2018, with a 7% drop in shipped lenses. And while the decline of DSLR production continued, dropping 12%, it was nowhere near balanced out by the growth of mirrorless, which only increased by 2%.

While the number of cameras produced and sold dropped drastically, however, the amount of money that was spent on them actually went up. 

"In 2018 the number of cameras sold went down as we have mentioned by about 24% compared to the previous year – however the amount of money spent worldwide on these far fewer cameras only went down by 4.5% compared to 2017 and even more interestingly while in 2018 we purchased almost 7% less lenses than the year before – we spent 5% more money on buying them."

We now face a perilous position where manufacturers are selling less cameras and lenses, so they are having to charge more for them. Which starts a vicious cycle, as more expensive gear means that less people will be inclined to buy cameras, which will further shrink the industry and cede more ground to smartphones.

In short, don't expect new gear to get any cheaper – and true innovation, if it can still be afforded, may be in short supply. 

Read more:

The best camera under £1000/$1000 in 2019

The best 50mm lens in 2019: Which 'standard prime' is the right one for you?

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.