Saturday, July 21, 2007

Numbers: Nikon outsells Canon in H1 2007 in Japan (updated)

  • A recent story at asahi.com rekindles the flames of the old Canon vs Nikon rivarly, which up to the last few months was really a one-sided affair with regards to market share and unit sales. This story is heavily discussed and debates in the dpreview forums as well.
  • So what are the new numbers from this story? According to market research firm BCN Inc of Tokyo, Nikon almost had a majority of the DSLR market in Japan, with a 47.6% market share. Canon was 11 points behind at 36.5%. Take out your calculators, do the math, that leaves 15.9% of the market to be shared by Sony, Olympus, Pentax, Fuji, Samsung, Panasonic, and Shiguma (computer-translated name for Sigma)
  • But the trend was there. Nikon was chipping away. In my opinion Nikon's resurgency began with the Nikon D70, and then with the D50. The combo of D40 and D40x, although it seemed perhaps a bizarre thing to do at that time, seems to have worked for Nikon. In H2 of 2006, Canon lead with 42.9% vs 35.5%. But that was getting closer. In H1 of 2006 Canon's lead was even larger, 46.4% vs 31.9%.
  • This also tells us the total market share for the last 18 months that was not Canon or Nikon: H1 of 2007: 15.9%, H2 of 2006: 21.6%, H1 of 2006: 21.7%.
  • The Asahi report tells us that Canon tried to fight back with a 10,000 yen rebate on the Digital Rebels (EOS Kiss in Japan).
  • The battle for the 3 spot is even more volatile. In H1 2007 Pentax led the way (thank you K10D and K100D) with 6.7%, while Sony and Olympus went neck and neck for the #4 spot, 4.5% and 4.3%. However the release of the E410 was a big boost for Olympus, and they jumped to #3 in June sales. As I said before, single month sales are much more cyclical and the release of a new model, especially one like the E410 is bound to have an impact.
  • This leaves 0.4% to be shared among Fuji, Panasonic, Samsung and Sigma. Now that's what I call OUCH!


    My opinion and analysis
  • Nikon has been able to win single months before but not a half-year term before. It's easier to win a month because new models usually create a stir, or perhaps special prices and/or rebates. So monthly results are much more affected by cyclical and short-term events. Six month periods are less cyclical, but still, it's only half the year. Not only that, but almost 40% of digital cameras (not sure what the DSLR percentage is) are sold in November and December of each year. So before you start planning a Nikon victory parade for 2007, you may want to wait until the 2007:Q4 numbers are released :)
  • We know that Canon is very efficiently operating at profit priority, but I doubt they are willing to lose the #1 spot, so expect them to adjust and react.
  • Summary: Single month numbers are cyclical, six month numbers are less cyclical, but the majority of digital cameras are sold in H2, specifically November and December. Trend-wise Nikon has been chippng away at Canon the last 18 months, resulting in their H1 victory. The other makers lost 5% market share compared to H1 and H2 of 2006.


    Update 7/22/2007
  • This story is also appearing at PMA's Newsline International. They also have another story on Olympus Japan, where an executive allegedly claimed Olympus aims for 15% of the DSLR market share in Japan, while Canon and Nikon get 70%, and the rest share 15%. This was allegdly said during an unofficial party. The story does not mention whether alcoholic beverages were served and consumed by said executive ;-)
  • Discussion of the Olympus Japan 15% story in the Olympus SLR dpreview forum.

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