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Americans don't like mirrorless???

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by speedandstyle, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    According to the sales figures mirrorless sales are poor in the USA and Canada, in comparison to other markets. My question to you is - Why?

    Why are mirrorless cameras not better sellers in North America?

    mirrorless-www_zpscc35f84e.
    Graph courtesy of 43rumors.com and personal-view.com
     
  2. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    Mike
    Canon and Nikon have very aggressive advertising in the USA. They actually pay for a portion of dealer ads. I have seen a few Olympus and Panasonic ads on television a while back. I know that Panasonic is trying to gear up their campaign a bit. Other than in photography magazines I have seen very few :43: ads.
     
  3. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I will answer my own question with #1 - lack of advertising. Most Americans are advertising driven but there are few ads for mirrorless camera systems. There was one Nikon did when they first introduced the "1" system but I have not seen any since. Just the other day I saw one on Hulu for the Fuji X-M1, that surprised me. Advertsing in magazines is very limited as well. Even the internet is devoid of ads for mirrorless. I do know that there has been some advertising in Europe and Asia but I don't know how much BUT it is much more than in America. Of coarse advertising here is more expensive and maybe that is a limiting factor. But my recommendation to all brands of mirrorless cameras - If you want to sell them in the USA{and Canada} then you have to tell us that we want and need them!
     
  4. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    Personally I dont like the 'lack of advertising excuse' because the numbers dont stack up and, in any case, it is a 'chicken and egg' argument.

    First of all Olympus spends a massively higher proportion of its digital camera sales revenues on advertising than either Nikon or Canon. In fact its SG&A expense as a % of sales (53%) is actually higher than any other product manufacturer that I know of on the planet. The problem is that only 316k of mirrorless cameras have been sold in the US in the first 10 months. Olympus's market share is approximately 17% which implies sales of 53k. During that period Canon has sold approximately 1,500,000 DSLRs in the US which is 30x as many, so it is not surprising that Canon's advertising is larger and the floor space they get is larger. Finally is Olympus mounted a US$20m advertising campaign in the US (and that wont really go far) it would amount to an additional US$400 for every mirrorless that have sold (and they are already losing approximately US$200 a camera).
     
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  5. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    Also people need to understand the trends.

    Mirrorless shipments to the US have fallen 47% (virtually halved this year)
    DSLR shipments are down 18%

    But the fall in mirrorless is actually greater than the fall in compact camera shipments - 38%.

    Now lack of advertising was also last year's excuse - so it is difficult to use it again on shipments down 47% this year.

    (Incidentally I hope you realize that 2 of your options 1. Lack of advertising and 2. Americans are stupid amount to one and the same - neither of which is likely to be true.)
     
  6. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    "First of all Olympus spends a massively higher proportion of its digital camera sales revenues on advertising than either Nikon or Canon. In fact its SG&A expense as a % of sales (53%) is actually higher than any other product manufacturer that I know of on the planet. "

    I have no reason to doubt your stats but where are they spending it? In the US, Midwest, I have yet to see an Olympus ad (other than in photo mags) in the 5 years I have been using its mirrorless products.
     
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  7. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    It may also simply be a price proposition. I'd be interested in seeing sales figures for cameras in various price brackets.

    Also, that pie chart can equally be said to say 'Asians don't like DSLRs!'. And that Europeans are pretty evenly split.
     
  8. briloop

    briloop Mu-43 Regular

    171
    May 23, 2012
    Mount Juliet, TN
    Americans like everything big. They live in big houses, drive large SUVs and pickup trucks, eat generously portioned meals. The same thing goes for cameras. When they upgrade from point-and-shoot cameras, they go for the DSLR because it fits their "bigger is better" mentality.
     
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  9. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    Well Olympus mirrorless sales in the US amount to around US$25m a year. If 20% of that goes on pure advertising that amounts to US$5m. I am not sure that buys you that much (apart from than in photo mag ads). However I did notice that when the E-M1 was launched they gave it a very prominent place in Amazon.com - a header in digital camera section.
     
  10. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    But, as I've said before when this topic comes up, advertising in the photo mags and even on Amazon is preaching to the choir. Nikon, Canon and to a lesser degree Sony advertise on television and in movie theaters. Places where someone who isn't already looking for micro four thirds (or who may never have heard of it) may see the ad. People who read photo magazines at least with some regularity have at least heard of the format. People who go to Amazon's digital photo section have also probably heard of micro four thirds. People looking to buy their first "good" camera should be the market they are trying to reach if they want to expand sales. Those people are watching TV. Going to movies, going to Best Buy. All places where Olympus and Panasonic are almost entirely absent. If they are spending $5 Million on advertising they are not spending it wisely or well.
     
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  11. homerusan

    homerusan Mu-43 Regular

    130
    Dec 25, 2012
    izmir, TURKEY
    maybe its because of their "bigger is better" motto ^^
     
  12. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    I think you are spot on here - well it isnt quite a 'price proposition' as a 'value proposition'.

    We have 3 key stats we see.
    1) Actually mirrorless isnt making a lot of headway anyway in the world. Yes it does relatively better in Asia but it isnt really gaining much in the way of market share. For instance in Japan this year mirrorless unit sales are up 13% but DSLR unit sales are up 40%. And mirrorless is 37% of total ILC sales but that is obviously lower than last year.
    2) Penetration of mirrorless has always been lower in the US and Europe than in Asia and emerging countries.
    3) Mirrorless sales have collapsed this year in both the US and Europe - falling much faster than DSLR sales.

    There seem to me to be a couple of natural cultural factors at play between US/Europe numbers and Asia emerging markets.
    1) The US/Europe markets are pretty mature - meaning that the majority of buyers are repeat camera purchases. There is a legacy lens base of 250m lenses in the world and obviously if you have say a Nikon DSLR and a collection of lenses your next purchase is likely to be a Nikon DSLR. Faster growing markets with new buyers are therefore likely to be more open to mirrorless.
    2) One of the two key competitive advantages of mirrorless is 'size'. Now I would argue that 'smaller' is a greater 'value' concept in Asia than it is in say the US. Others might argue that the US likes things supersized. More specifically I think western markets have a 'more is better' value concept. By that I mean for instance that they value a camera with a viewfinder higher than one without - which doesnt inherently mean they want to buy a camera with a viewfinder but if it doesnt have one, they expect it to be cheaper.

    The other key competitive advantage that mirrorless has is one of cost. Unfortunately, the mirrorless manufacturers havent really taken advantage of this to offer new product at lower prices - they have offered some pretty reasonable end of product line camera prices but in some respects this has been counter-productive. Mirrorless cameras are, in general, just as expensive as DSLRs and have substantially worse resale values. Furthermore, I do think that the average consumer sees inherently 'more value' in the bottom/mid end dslrs. The Nikon 5300 has a viewfinder and a 24MP APSC sensor for US$520 - seems pretty good value to me - and you will be able to sell at a reasonable price in a couple of years.

    Finally, lets take this years numbers for digital camera sales - mirrorless off 47% and DSLRs down 18%. Well what has happened in mirrorless - the average price of a shipped mirrorless ILC has increased 12% (in yen terms virtually unchanged in US$). The mirrorless manufacturers have relentless moved their price point up - GX7 v GX1, E-P5 v E-P3 and the E-M1 v E-M5. Conversely the average shipped price of a DSLR has fallen 4% in yen terms (more like 15% in US$ terms.) I cant say I am an expert on DSLR prices but I do know that a Canon 6D or a Nikon D600 have moved into mirrorless territory.

    So in total there has been a 16% shift in relative price between mirrorless and DSLRs over the past year - and not surprisingly that has had a significant impact on unit demand. And that is the problem with mirrorless - it wasnt really a great value proposition a year ago (high purchase prices poor resale) and it is a far worse one now.
     
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  13. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    As an American who has travelled extensively, I'll just say that Americans, for the most part, are not a tech savvy people when compared to people living in most Asian and European countries (Americans on this forum being the obvious exception). I think that is at the root of a lot of this. Most Americans are not very well informed, but know that Canon and Nikon have always been the best, Sony makes Playstations and TVs, and Panasonic makes Microwaves (Damn good ones too!)
     
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  14. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I'll add that I'm also still recommending DSLRs to folks who want a good camera that will do pretty much everything and don't put a huge premium on size. I always present the MFT option as well, but from my perspective, the only really interesting MFT cameras are the higher end models. I don't like the handling on the GF series (feels like a point and shoot in terms of control) or the E-PL or E-PM series (same problem), no matter how nice the features. Now, a lot of lower-end DSLRs aren't hugely better, but I do think there's an advantage to having a viewfinder, and I'm not a big fan of stick-on finders (which add significantly to cost). You can get a lot of camera (and a wider array of lens choices) with a DSLR compared to mirrorless systems. MFT suits me because I have enough disposable income/the desire to spend said disposable income on the glass that makes the system great for my purposes.
     
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  15. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Not everyone has to like mirrorless.....We are not all created the same....we are all individuals...
    Just because an individual doesn't prefer mirrorless doesn't make them any lesser of a shooter or person...
     
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  16. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    Where does the rapid introduction of new models fit into all of this? A surprisingly brief 4 years has passed between my purchase of the E-P1 in mid-2009 and my purchase of the E-P5 in the fall of 2013. The latter is by far the superior camera technologically and functionally but I can remember marveling at the IQ of the E-P1 only a very short time ago. If Olympus and Panasonic is introducing new models every year, does that help or hurt sales? Who needs such rapid advancement? The American and European market or the Asian market?
     
  17. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter

    443
    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    Richard
    Where do I see cameras for sale? Best Buy and Target. They carry Canon, Nikon, and Sony. I've seen Olympus and Panasonic point-and-shoots, but no Micro Four Thirds in the past year. I don't blame Olympus for not advertising in print if it doesn't have distribution channels where consumers can buy the product.

    Robbie makes lots of informative and illuminating points, but the one that I'll underscore is the cheapness of DSLRs. That doesn't mean Micro Four Thirds cameras need to be cheaper, because Olympus and Panasonic need to make their money, and I still find great deals in the used camera market. Mirrorless will eventually win over DSLRs, not because it's cheaper, but for the same reason that SLRs won over medium format: it gives equivalent results more conveniently.
     
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  18. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    803
    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    I wonder whether hand size has anything to do with this? From what I understand, people in Asia tend to have smaller hands than those in Europe and the US. The smaller mirrorless cameras tend to work a great deal better for people with smaller hands. When I had an E-P3, I bought the add-on grip (that I suspect few people would have realised existed) to make it comfortable to hold. I ended up replacing it with the E-M1 rather than the E-P5 even though the features on the E-P5 would have been adequate for me and I preferred its appearance because the E-P5 was too uncomfortable for me to hold (it does not have the option of the add-on grip as the E-P3 did). The E-PL and E-PM series are even smaller.
     
  19. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Dan
    For me there are three main factors. First is brand recognition/loyalty. Canon and Nikon have broad product lines and recognized names. When a non-photographer thinks of cameras, they think of Canon and Nikon, so when they go to buy a camera, those brands have a leg up. Panasonic makes just about everything electronic and Olympus hasn't had near the presence of Canon or Nikon in a long time.

    Next is product placement. I live in a decent sized town and I don't know of a single store in town that stocks Panasonic or Olympus mirror less cameras. I can find a few Sony and Nikon mirror less, but that is it.

    And finally there is capability. The only disadvantage I can think of for DSLRs is their size. Oh, and their live view is not as well implemented, but even their the newest DSLRs are greatly improved. For me, the only reason to move to m4/3 was size. I have thought about going back a few times, but in the end I come back ti the fact that m4/3 cameras are sufficient for what I do and I love the size.
     
  20. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    827
    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    Exactly. They need to do what Sony does: get models that look like DSLRs (G6, E-M5 or maybe a lower model like E-M10) into Best Buy and Target, and then don't correct them when they list them in their circulars as DSLRs. On Black Friday, the A3000 was described in a Best Buy circular as a DSLR. Americans may or may not be stupid, but when it comes to cameras, they certainly are ignorant. Don't fight it; use it. A G6 next to the A3000 and Canon SL1 will, in their minds, fit right into the small DSLR market.
     
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