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Canon's Number 1 (sort of)
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Canon's Number 1 (sort of)

This is an interesting post by Canon USA.  Just recently Sony press released a press release stating they were #1 in a dizzying list of areas for North America.  Confusingly Sony also refers to their internal research which states it is the US only (so some of the stats may have ignored Canada), even though everything else seems to be North America.

Sony states they were first in;

  • Mirrorless camera brand (NPD group, dollars)
  • Full Frame Mirrorless camera brand (NPD group, dollars)
  • Mirrorless lenses (NPD group, dollars)
  • 8 years of being first in full frame mirrorless cameras (internal research, US only?)

Now Canon comes along and says we're number #1 too!  However, since this was just Canon USA, Canada didn't count in the discussion, and Canon USA claims they are number one in;

  • Digital Camera Company (total digital still cameras - most likely units, NPD Group)
  • Mirrorless Camera Unit Sales (most likely units sold, NPD Group) 
  • Full frame camera sales (both DSLR and Mirrorless, NPD Group, dollars)
  • Lens Sales (DSLR and mirrorless, dollars) 

Well, as you can see they are both right.  Sony picks up based upon overall dollar value and a more narrow viewpoint of just "mirrorless", and Canon wins on units and the much wider range of digital cameras including DSLR and Mirrorless.  Even though mirrorless will dominate the landscape of the future with both the RF, Z, L, and FE mounts, 47% of all shipments to the Americas in 2021 were still DSLRs with a FOB value of around 200 million USD.

On the one category which Canon and Sony both say they are number one, it's the difference of dollars versus units. Now some will say that is an advantage Sony because sales are more important, perhaps but not always.  Canon does think that units sold are important, if you read their financials they always mention their unit sales.  Sony used to think units were important until the numbers kept decreasing year on year and then they stopped reporting it.

Interesting bulletin from Canon, I wonder if it was done in response when the Sony press announcement came out earlier.  Now let's wait for Nikon's...

Units versus Dollars

I hear this so much in discussions. Most camera companies report both with good reason. Both of these metrics are important.  Some people immediately dismiss units as not as important, but that's not exactly true.  Mount market share plays an important role in the camera industry, and mirrorless cameras are no different.  You can only tell that with the number of units sold. Sony needs to maintain or increase their mount market share now being faced with far more difficult competition.  Canon needs to quickly build up RF mount market share (and EF-M if they are keeping it) to stimulate the third-party ecosystem. 

Another point against "sales" and "dollars" ranking is the "last camera syndrome".  If you have rising sales, but lowering unit sales, you are likely going to continue to attempt to sell new cameras to an ever-decreasing number of people as they get their "last camera I'll ever need to buy".  If the unit sales are going up, then you are selling upgrades and lenses to an ever-increasing number of people using your cameras, and have a far more healthy marketshare.

 

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