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Momentum in the imaging industry

Dear PHOTOPIA family,

"Forecasts are difficult, especially when they concern the future" - this is a popular saying attributed to Mark Twain, Karl Valentin, Niels Bohr or even Winston Churchill. Today I am making it my own, because the first quarter of 2022 is coming to an end and the current figures for the photo market are on the table.


To start with, the overall market for technical consumer goods is in a sales crisis. In addition to the emergence of the Sars-Cov-2 variant Omikron, the decline in demand was contributed to the lack of availability of models and an overall decline in consumers' willingness to spend, as inflation and rising energy costs as a result of the war in Ukraine are having a negative impact. These factors do not only affect the photo and imaging industry.

Despite the adverse circumstances, the photo and imaging industry actually did not do too badly in 2021. As the last industry institution, the Japanese Camera & Imaging Products Association, CIPA, now took stock: according to CIPA statistics, a total of 8,361,521 digital cameras were sold worldwide from January to December 2021, which corresponds to 94.1% of the previous year's level. With a minus of 15.8%, cameras with a fixed lens were once again the biggest losers, finding only 3,013,250 buyers worldwide. The winners are system cameras without mirrors, which now account for more than 60% of the total market worldwide and show a slight growth of 100.8%. Also up 105.8% were interchangeable lenses, of which a total of 9,549,347 were sold. This means that there were 1.8 interchangeable lenses for every system camera sold.

The CIPA forecast for 2022 is: 7,850,000 digital cameras sold, which is 93.9% of the previous year. This would mean a slight slowdown in the negative trend of recent years, despite the ongoing corona crisis and the shortage of semiconductor supply.

While CIPA primarily looks at the number of units sold, the German photo industry association, PIV, also reflects the turnover generated with them. At 6% in 2021, this lost much less than the 16.6% decline in unit sales would have led one to fear, because high-priced cameras and lenses recorded a significant increase in demand. Compact system cameras in particular increased not only in quantity (+ 10.5%) but especially in value (+ 23.4%). The industry association also expects the market to remain stable in value this year, as the trend towards premium products leads to higher average prices, which compensate for a further decline in the number of units.

The leading photo retail group Ringfoto reports that cameras without mirrors now account for almost 90% of sales (previous year: 80%), while SLR cameras are in decline with -43.0%. Moving images are also becoming increasingly important for users.

The picture market, the largest part of which is now online, is proving to be a reliable constant. Whether photo books (+ 1.7 % in value, approx. 315 million euros turnover) or photo articles such as wall pictures, calendars or greeting cards (+ 9.3 % in value, approx. 398 million euros turnover), physical pictures are booming.

Probably the most impressive evidence of this trend is provided by the approximately 200 million instant photos sold by Fujifilm in Germany alone since the launch of the Instax brand in 2009. This corresponds to 90 to 100 pictures per year and camera. In order to meet the high demand, Fujifilm is now even planning to further expand instant photo production, as market research analyses on social media platforms show that the trend is unbroken and interest in instant photography with Instax remains strong. There, a strong upward trend has been evident especially since 2019; between 2020 and 2021, the mention of both terms even doubled there - regardless of pandemic-related supply bottlenecks.

My personal forecast is therefore: photography is alive and well, especially the interest in images. They are the key to success and the driving force behind the momentum on the imaging market. At PHOTOPIA Hamburg from 13th to 16th of October, we will bring the World of Imaging to life with a unique happening of photography and videography and quicken the pulse of the most fascinating industry I can imagine!

Yours sincerely
Christian Popkes