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June 2021 CIPA data: Steady shipments despite chip shortages and COVID-19 resurgences

The Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) has released the production and shipment data of digital cameras and lenses for June 2021.

So far, in 2021, global camera shipments peaked in March, with 830,006 units. Since then, it’s been a steady decline, with June continuing that trend. That said, global camera shipments are still higher than last year for both volume and value. In June 2021 676,803 units valued at 39 billion yen shipped compared to 511,517 units worth 24.5 billion yen in June 2020, increases of 32.3 percent and 60.1 percent, respectively.

If we ignore compact camera sales and look only at interchangeable lens cameras, the numbers are fairly similar. June 2021 saw 442,679 units worth 33 billion yen shipped in June 2021 compared to 326,094 units worth 19.3 billion yen in June 2020, increases of 35.8 percent and 71.2 percent, respectively.

This chart from CIPA shows total digital stills camera shipments in 2019 (purple, circles), 2020 (black, triangles) and 2021 (orange, squares). These numbers include compact cameras with built-in lenses, DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras. Click to enlarge.

This data continues the trend we’ve seen over the past year or two wherein fewer units are being shipped (and eventually sold) than previous years, but the value of those units is higher, meaning the loss in volume for camera manufacturers is at least somewhat being made up for with an increase in revenue per unit. This trend is even more noticeable in the interchangeable lens camera market, where mirrorless cameras showed a 104 percent YoY increase in the value of units shipped in June 2021, despite volume only increasing 58 percent.

This chart from CIPA shows total shipments for cameras with interchangeable lenses in 2019 (purple, circles), 2020 (black, triangles) and 2021 (orange, squares). Click to enlarge.

For comparison, June 2021 saw 191,560 DSLR units worth 7.1 billion yen shipped. Those are YoY increases of 14.6 percent and 7.8 percent respectively. What this shows is that despite more DSLR camera units being shipped globally, the value of those units is steadily decreasing. There could be a few reasons for this discrepancy, but the two most obvious ones are that camera companies are discounting their more expensive DSLR cameras to get rid of inventory ahead of the ongoing transition to mirrorless; the second is that those still buying DSLR cameras are more consumer-oriented customers who are getting entry-level DSLR cameras that retail for much less than prosumer and pro-grade DSLR cameras.

Another facet to take into account is the ongoing chip shortage. Camera and lens manufacturers have come out time and time again to announce delays due to the inability to source the required components, but it’s difficult to judge just how much this is affecting the production and shipment data at this time.

CIPA’s complete June 2021 breakdown, which shows production and shipment data from January, February, March, April, May and June 2021 by camera type and region. Click to enlarge.

As for regional data, it’s a little more difficult to judge how shipment and production data is affecting the industry as a whole. There are geographical areas where COVID-19 and its variants are causing increases in cases and travel restrictions, while other areas have seen life more or less return to ‘normal,’ as obscure as that definition may be.

Whatever the case is, June 2021 continues the trends we’ve seen as of late and once again backs up the statements we’ve seen from various camera and lens manufacturers who’ve state that 2021 will be a year of equilibrium that will very much shape the state of the industry going forward.

You can find a full list of companies participating in CIPA’s data and view all historical data on CIPA’s website. You can find the full June 2021 dataset here.

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