Did the annual Black Friday rush in November capsize camera shipments in October?
CIPA (the Camera & Imaging Products Association) has released its latest report, providing an overview of digital camera sales and shipments over the past year in comparison with the previous two. Shipments of both interchangeable and lens-integrated cameras were plotted on a graph showing how the market reacted in 2023.
The health of the digital camera market had been recovering for most of the year, after being decimated during the pandemic. However, CIPA's results show that a major dip in October / November has significantly skewed what would have been an improved and steady year. Could this be an effect of the ever-increasing popularity of Black Friday, and people holding out for better deals? Or were camera manufacturers under so much demand that shipments stalled?
In April and May 2023, shipments of interchangeable lens cameras were greatly increased over the same period in previous years, before steadying to corresponding levels from June to October. October / November, however, saw a significant decrease.
This may be a result of Black Friday, a commercial promotion at the end of November aimed at providing the best deals before the holiday season. The dip in shipments could be due to people holding off buying cameras in October and waiting for the perfect Black Friday deal at the end of November. It will be interesting to see the data for December, to see if there was an influx of shipments over the extended Black Friday and Cyber Monday period.
On the other hand, another possibility for the decline is the lack of new releases towards the end of the year. The last major launch was the Fujifilm GFX 100 II in September, and that isn't exactly your everyday consumer camera!
The data shows that fixed (integrated) lens camera shipments appear to have been a lot lower in 2023 than in 2022 and 2021, although they were consistent throughout the year. Fixed-lens models, particularly some of the best compact cameras, have been growing in popularity in recent years, so much so that they have exceeded expectations – and cameras like the Fujifilm X100V are still hard to get. I expect this data to increase over 2024, as fixed lens cameras such as the successors to the X100V and Ricoh GR III are rumored.
Among interchangeable lens cameras, the 86,575 DSLRs shipped were vastly overshadowed by the 415,342 mirrorless cameras. The figures show that DSLR shipments are down a whopping 50%, seeing the fastest growth for mirrorless cameras so far, as the drawn-out death of the DSLR continues.
It is useful to get an insight into how the camera market is behaving, as it provides a gauge of the health of the medium – and to show recovery during a global cost of living crisis is encouraging. With many camera manufacturers rumored to be releasing new models in 2024, I can envision market growth, especially with many of these rumored releases being new flagship models. However, an increase in sales may also mean an increase in shipping times!