Compact System Cameras vs. DSLRs - David vs. Goliath

Compact System Cameras vs. DSLRs - David vs. Goliath

Recently Wall Street Journal released stats about compact system camera sales that depict a clear rise in the demand of these devices. According to the stats, the number of DSLR cameras sold in 2012 so far happens to be of 16.8 million, up from 14.5 million units sold in 2011. This is an 18 percent increase in sales. Besides, 6.4 million units of compact system camera have been sold during 2012, compared to sales of 4 million units during 2011, which is a year on year increase of 60 percent. These figures, based on the estimates of IDC, seem to be a bit off the real pattern in certain aspects. For instance, The Wall Street has quoted IDC saying that the shipment of the point&shoot cameras declined during 2011 but a sharp rise in the sales has been seen during 2012, with a prediction that 130 million units would be sold. This would actually represent 30 percent increase in sales compared to the sales figure that was released for 2011 by CIPA.

These figures clearly show a dominant increase in the demand of DSLR cameras as well as compact system camera. Considering all the factors affecting the sales, the rise in the sales of DSLR cameras is about 12.6 percent while this percentage for compact system camera happens to be 4.8 percent of the unit volume. Third category is of point&shoot cameras where a predicted 82.6 percent increase in sales would be seen during 2012.

Speaking comparatively, for every three DLSRs sold in 2012, about one compact system camera would be sold. Besides, seven point&shoot camera would be sold for every single DSLR. Keeping these figures in consideration, it is clear that although point&shoot are in demand far more than DSLR cameras, the sales of DLSRs are also increasing.

Although there is a clear increase in the sales of these cameras in dollars, it seems that this is a temporary profit bubble. An important fact to be considered in this entire scenario is that most of the units were not sold at the original price before the new version came out. This deflating of the previous generation inventory prices is something that is expected to increase with more companies and more models of compact system camera entering the market. There also seems to be a lot of instability when it comes to the price of compact system camera. Mostly they are priced more than the point&shoot ones but less than the DLSRs, but there are exceptions such as cameras from the Nikon 1 line, which cost more than two DSLRs from Nikon when they were launched (though prices have now lowered considerably).

Probably this is just a whim, but it seems that too many hopes have been associated with compact system camera. But since we are just at the first stages of this category of cameras, we can’t predict anything for sure. For the time being, the giants of camera industry, Canon, Nikon and Sony have geared up to produce these devices and lenses for them. But it seems that these market leaders have been taking too much time to actively participate on this front, which has given other competitors such as Panasonic and Olympus ample amount of time to set up their respective micro four thirds platform.

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