Nikon sales drop 15%, Fujifilm sales rise 20% year-on-year in Japan

Nikon sales drop 15%, Fujifilm sales rise 20% year-on-year in Japan
Image: BCN Retail

The past year has been a tumultuous time In the camera industry's home market, Japan, with Fujifilm the only major manufacturer to see increased sales while Canon, Nikon, Sony and Olympus all saw sales slide – some of them very significantly.  

That's according to the latest report by BCN Retail, the Japanese body that monitors point of sale information from the country's retailers. 

In terms of market share from April 2018 to March 2019, the latest BCN Ranking (opens in new tab) (via Mirrorless Rumors (opens in new tab)) paints a picture that isn't hugely surprising. Canon still reigns supreme with a 37.3% share, followed by Nikon with 26.7%, Sony with 13.1%, Olympus with 6% and Fujifilm with 5.8%.

Fujifilm's instax line keeps going from strength to strength

On the back of its instax sales, Fujifilm was the only big brand to see a sales increase in the past year

The more telling picture, however, comes in the form of actual cameras sales. Canon and Sony held fairly steady, only seeing sales drops of 1.3% and 6.6% respectively. However, Olympus saw a big sales decline of 13.8% while Nikon lost the most at 15%. 

Not only was Fujifilm the long big brand to see increased sales, but it saw growth of a whopping 19.4% – attributable to the trend-bucking performance of its best instant cameras (opens in new tab), led by the instax Square line.

However, a third picture emerges when you take a closer look at the actual value of those camera sales. 

Cameras like the Sony A7R III gave Sony a big uplift in sales value

Despite a decline in sales volume, Sony saw a sharp increase in sales value thanks to its high end cameras

Despite the huge growth in sales, the value of those sales only increased by a marginal 0.6% – again, attributable to many of these sales being related to the lower value of instax products.  

Sony's 6.6% decline in sales volume, meanwhile, actually translated to a substantial 14.5% increase in sales value – a result of the company selling mostly higher end cameras. 

The value of Canon's sales value dropped by 11.4%, while Olympus and Nikon saw alarming drops of 21.3% and 28.5% respectively. We knew that Olympus was in a transition year, only releasing a single (and niche) product in the Olympus OM-D E-M1X (opens in new tab) while also relocting its manufacturing facilities from China to Vietnam. 

Nikon saw drastic sales and value drops, despite its new Z cameras

The release of the Nikon Z6 and Z7 weren't enough to save Nikon from a 28.5% drop in sales value

For Nikon, however, the huge 15% drop in sales and 28.5% decline in sales value year on year are much more concerning, given that the manufacturer brought both the Nikon Z6 (opens in new tab) and Nikon Z7 (opens in new tab) to market. 

It all amounts to yet another fairly gloomy forecast for the industry. "Even the top share Canon is suffering from a big year-on-year decline, and the outlook for the overall recovery of the camera market is unclear," concludes BCN.  

"If this goes as it is, the mainstream of shooting equipment will be completely robbed of smartphones, and cameras may be forced into niche products. The camera is now at a big crossroads."

Read more:

Camera market has collapsed 84% since 2010 (opens in new tab)
Canon Imaging: 23% decline in camera sales, 81% drop in operating profit (opens in new tab)
The best instant cameras in 2019  (opens in new tab)

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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.