According to Nikkei, Nikon has now dropped behind Sony on overall camera sales, leaving the market with these adjusted rankings:
And Nikon, #3.
This hardly comes as a surprise, given recent market trends in digital camera sales, along with Nikon’s recently forecasted loss in imaging products (instead of an originally predicted profit).
The truth is that digital camera sales are bleeding across the board, not just for Nikon. In recent years, sales have dropped for Canon, Nikon, and Sony, but Nikon’s poor performance has allowed Sony to creep past them in the rankings.
Note that Sony was already leading the industry in full-frame camera market share, and was also leading Nikon in interchangeable lens camera sales.
In other words: Sony’s success is simply another step on the road to its digital camera dominance.
For Nikon shooters, this is far from good news. As of right now, Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless lineup is in its early stages, with only two cameras and a handful of lenses. But if Nikon decides that its imaging business is costing too much money, the leadership may decide to head into the safer waters of its precision equipment business (where Nikon is performing well and profits are steadier).
If this happens, we could see a decline in both the number and quality of Nikon products.
And then, assuming that digital camera sales continue in the downward direction, and assuming that Canon and Sony continue to push for market dominance, we might see the end of Nikon’s imaging business, period.
Is speculating about the end of Nikon cameras a bit alarmist?
But reports regarding camera sales have been nothing but alarming in recent years, defying expectations and suggesting that things are changing faster than anyone could have predicted. And with recent speculation about Olympus’s camera business shutting down, well, it’s hard not to wonder.
So what do you think? Will Nikon remain competitive in the camera industry? Or will the company decide to focus on other areas and drop its image business entirely?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!