Camera industry still in decline, new stats show - are camera phones to blame?

The Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) has published its camera shipment report for September, and year-on-year shipments have continued to decline. 

The latest graphs (opens in new tab) show September 2018 shipments of 1,732,128, which is down significantly from September 2017 shipments of 2,301,700.

For interchangeable lens cameras specifically, September 2018's shipments (931,319) were only 88% of September 2017 (1,057,145), which in turn were 95% of September 2016 (1,114,114).

CIPA's shipment report for ILC bodies in September 2018

CIPA's shipment report for ILC bodies in September 2018

While shipments of mirrorless cameras are eating into DSLRs' numbers, the overall shipments are still shrinking (opens in new tab) – and with advanced phones like the Nokia PureView 9 (opens in new tab), with its five Zeiss lenses, that pattern is likely to accelerate. 

The question is, with October being the big month for the Canon EOS R (opens in new tab) and Nikon Z7 (opens in new tab), can the big two full-frame mirrorless bodies prompt a pickup in shipments? Indeed, will the industry-wide shift to mirrorless help turn the tide, or is the rise in the camera phone to blame? 

Unfortunately CIPA's research poses more questions than answers them.

CIPA's shipment report for ILC bodies in September 2018

Ever-better smartphone cameras continue to impact the traditional camera industry

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web 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 as diverse as 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, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). 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.