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Life in the slow lane

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by robbie36, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    Looking at the mirrorless shipment numbers for May released by CIPA today makes pretty sober reading. Mirrorless shipments were down 25% YOY in May and are down 18% for the first 5 months. Shipments to the US at 20,000 units were almost non-existent (1.5% of total units). Shipments to Europe, down 46% were little better. Shipments to Japan and the remains of Asia held up but mirrorless is losing share in Japan. Mirrorless represents 35% units sales (30% by value) of ILCs for the first 5 months compared to around 50% for much of last year.

    Of course all camera sales are poor this year - compacts down 48% and DSLR down 15% for the first 5 months. The problem for mirrorless is that the decline is off a very low base. Mirrorless only accounted for 5% of global shipments last month.

    Furthermore these declines are set against healthy growth forecasts. CIPA is still forecasting 26% growth this year. And it was only a year ago that the Wall St Journal was forecasting 6m mirrorless shipments for 2012 and a 5x increase by 2015. In the event, last year saw 3.9m shipments and this year probably about 3m. With 1.0m shipped in the first 5 months even this could prove optimistic.

    So what is behind these poor figures. Probably the most common sense reason is that there has simply be a lack of new mirrorless products on the market while last year we had the omd, Fuji x, nex 6 and eos-m. What is pretty certain though is mirrorless users are going to remain an exclusive minority for a while yet.
     
  2. Nordiquefan

    Nordiquefan Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Mar 12, 2013
    It's hard to argue with the numbers but I'm still optimistic.

    On a recent trip to my local camera store, there were more people around the mirrorless counters than the DSLR counters. I spoke with a lovely gentleman for some time about an OM-D he was looking at purchasing. He had a bunch of questions and I was more than happy to answer any that I could. He said he is an avid photographer and he travels a lot for work. He was looking for a smaller option to tote along with him because he was leaving his DSLR gear at home too much due to size constraints. I was very pleased to hear the clerk behind the counter comment that they had been hearing that more and more and he suspected, aside from some pros they deal with, that mirrorless cameras were going to become a lot more common.

    It's only one salespersons opinion, but it's promising.

    (The gentleman ended up buying an OM-D/12-50 kit and a PL25:D)

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  3. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    How about lack of promotion? I simply do not see mirrorless advertised like DSLR and I don't remember seeing a Panasonic or Olympus mirrorless ad outside of a local camera shop circular that sells Olympus. If the manufacturers aren't willing to spend money on US marketing, their sales will remain dismal.
     
  4. battleaxe

    battleaxe Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I have only see a hand full of Olympus E-PM2 commercials on tvs, while the other Olympus models never got a mention, nor have I seen a Panasonic mirrorless commercial. I think I may have seen an EOS M commercial, but I don't remember. The only mirrorless I have seen on tv really being marketed is the Nikon Series 1. On the other hand the the most common mirrorless I have seen in person is the NEX(yet to see a 6 or 7 on yet, mostly older models). Most common m4/3 I have seen is the Olympus E-PL models though.
     
  5. Thinh Ly

    Thinh Ly Mu-43 Regular

    38
    Sep 26, 2012
    Washington D.C.
    I've been seeing the OMD around a lot lately. I haven't seen anyone else using a Pen besides myself. NEX's are pretty common too. I've yet to see anyone with a Fuji.
     
  6. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I tend to think that the overall decline in camera sales is most likely due to the "Last Camera Syndrome" that Thom Hogan has espoused. Put simply, this means that many have stepped off the upgrade cycle because whatever camera they bought in the last 2-4 years continues to be "good enough" for them. Combine this with the much discussed increased in the quality and number of converged devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) and I think all of the manufacturers were way too optimistic.

    Of course, this doesn't address why mirrorless sales seem to have fallen off more precipitously than the market as a whole.
     
  7. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I recently spent some time doing "tourist" activities in my own town (Seattle) and I was surprised by the relative lack of camera sightings overall. On a short boat tour I spotted only a handful of point-and-shoots, one older Sony APS-C DSLR and a pink Samsung NX (with a matching pink lens)...no Canikons in sight. Elsewhere on the same day I did spot a couple of Panasonic G-series cameras and one other Olympus PEN (besides my own). I don't recall yet seeing an OM-D "in the wild".
     
  8. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    In any market, when sales fall the fringe elements fall quicker and farther than the mainstream companies.

    Gary
     
  9. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    Here in the heart of the heart of the midwest, when I see someone taking pictures it is most often with a cell phone, then a dslr. I have not seen an OMD unless it is mine. I have seen a few Pen`s but only that I can count on one hand. I have seen only one Panasonic G. I believe the lack of mirrorless cameras must have something to do with the fact that they simply aren`t marketed well here.
    Also, we have two full service camera shops in the area. Only one of them sells mu43 but only Olympus, no Panasonic. Then there is Best Buy which sells no mu43 . If they aren`t sold here why would the manufacturers market them here. On the other hand, what`s the thinking by the manufacturers that they aren`t sold here .
     
  10. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Good point. Another possibility that just occurred to me is that if the "Last Camera Syndrome" hypothesis has any validity, it would be less likely to effect professional shooters since they are most likely to need (or think they need) the latest and greatest cameras and they are also able to write off the expense. Since these people shoot mostly with DSLRs, that market may be less impacted. Although even as I type this, I'm not sure how much impact the behavior of "pros" with regard to upgrading is likely to have on the overall market.
     
  11. taz98spin

    taz98spin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    843
    May 13, 2011
    NYC
    I just got back from a trip to NYC & saw 2 E-PL2 users & 1 Fuji X-E1 user!

    But no OMDs nor NEX :confused:
     
  12. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I have always expected mirrorless to be a niche market. I see the demise of the P&S as the rise of the camera phone rather than a migration to a different camera platform. That said, I think that it is a big enough niche that players will continue to make bodies and lenses. I would really like to see a break down of the numbers to see if the high end or the low end is driving sales and profits.
     
  13. battleaxe

    battleaxe Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Not to get off topic, but they could market to just get their name out? Cause just ask anyone in California, they keep running ads for food places that we don't even have(Dunkin Donuts is the perfect example). Other than trying to make us jealous and mad, I don't know why they do that to us. But, the point could be to get their name out when one travels to another state. The same could be said for Olympus and Panasonic, they could market it so when they go to Amazon or some other online retailer they could have their product remembered or what not.
     
  14. fsuscotphoto

    fsuscotphoto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    819
    Feb 15, 2013
    St. Cloud, FL
    Ron
    Oly has ads in almost all the camera mags now, every issue. My local shop has the OMD displayed in a good position, but if you look at the store locator on the Oly website, they don't exist at all! If Oly doesn't care to get it right, it's going to be a tough sell.


    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  15. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    Having ads in the camera mags is preaching to the choir. They need to focus on the vast market of people who take pictures but don't know a camera mag from a telephone book.
     
  16. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    I always think this call for 'more marketing' flies in the face of economic realities.

    Let see - for the US....

    DSLR shipments have been US$470m in the first 5 months...

    ...while total mirrorless shipments have been US$50m....

    Now if both sectors spend 10% of revenues on advertising then DSLRs spend US$47m and mirrorless spends US$5m. Olympus who might be 25% of mirrorless would spend US$1.2m.

    Under any analysis a company like Olympus cannot come close to competing with Canon and Nikon on marketing spend.
     
  17. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Granted, Oly cannot compete against Canon or Nikon dollar to dollar. But without marketing, the company is destined to die. Marketing, IIRC, consists of three basic elements, advertising (big bucks), promotions (less bucks) and public relations (tiny bucks) ... each element will deliver a different ROI. Just playing the numbers game, while drawing a clear picture, doesn't take into account the buying public's fickled nature. And that is where Oly needs to scratch ... that fickled niche-ie marketplace. The pro's looking for a fun, small camera which delivers a helluva image, the Pentax and Sony owners who think out of the box, the soccer Mom's shooting Johnny and Jane with a little jewel of a camera in lieu of a big plastic dinosaur of a camera, et cetera. The best way to reach these peoples is marketing. When things get tough, when the sales are down ... it is marketing that will pull you out faster and reduce the fall.

    Gary

    PS- Again, Oly, Panasonic, Sigma, all the µ4/3 consortium should collectively market the µ4/3 platform. Pooling a portion of their marketing monies for some interesting campaigns.

    =G=
     
  18. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    I know nothing about marketing. Let me start there. But it makes little sense to offer a product for sale that consumers know nothing about. Worse, a product the consumer doesn't even know exists.
    So Olympus and Panasonic "cannot come close to competing with Canon and Nikon" on marketing expenditures. Fine, but the consequence of not marketing could easily be no further need to market when their lack of sales drives them into bankruptcy.
     
  19. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    This is a good thought, but the likelihood it happens doesn't look too hopeful to me. The only shared Four Thirds Consortium effort I'm aware of is the Four-Thirds.org website. The site is administered by Olympus and in practice this appears to mean that the Olympus information is updated much more quickly than that for the other manufacturers. Case in point, the E-P5 and E-PL6 appeared on the site just days after their introduction, while the GF6 (which had been introduced over a month prior) was still not listed on the site. The GF6 and G6 didn't appear until around two months after their introduction.

    If these companies can't coordinate their efforts on something as simple as a website more effectively, then it doesn't seem likely to me that they could effectively work together on something as complex as a marketing campaign.
     
  20. madmaxmedia

    madmaxmedia Mu-43 Veteran

    335
    Feb 20, 2010
    All this is true, but to be honest mirrorless will always be somewhat of a niche market IMO. To me it's not a clearly superior format as it is simply a different one. Most people don't want to have to think about this decision. So it ends up being-

    1. You want a small camera that fits in a purse or pocket, buy a compact.
    2. You want a higher level camera, buy a DSLR.

    Micro 4/3 isn't generally small enough sell against maxim #1 (you can get close with specific combos, but you're really restricting lens choices.) And it's not superior in IQ, features, lens selection to sell against #2.

    Mirrorless is a great format IMO, but it's also sort of a 'neither here nor there' in terms of what the general consumer is looking for. I understand the rationale of investing more in marketing, but it's 'hard money' to outweigh compact and DSLR marketing. Micro 4/3 would have to invest more money to earn 1 new customer than Canon/Nikon, yet they are not close in sales. It's just not a winning proposition.

    Had mirrorless been invented much earlier, then yes maybe things turn out differently. But timing is important, for example who wants to spend a lot of money creating and marketing a new online auction site now? Even if it's better, it's still a lost cause.

    I feel like mirrorless makers have priced their products befitting a niche market, in that lens prices are higher IMO than DLSR equivalents. Yes they dress the lenses up with better build quality, etc. but that's all part of creating a higher MSRP and higher profit margin per unit.

    An amateur friend wanted a good camera/ normal (and fast) lens combo. I could have recommended a M43 body with say Pana 25mm, but that's very expensive. I ended up recommending a Nikon D3100 and 35mm f/1.8.