Sony and Canon Each Declare to Be #1 in Mirrorless Cameras — Who Actually Is?


Sony introduced final week that it was the primary mirrorless model holding the very best market share for eight years straight. Canon then adopted this up by claiming that it was the primary digital digicam firm, additionally main on mirrorless market share. In a recreation of smoke and mirrors–one thing Sherlock Holmes could be happy with–who’s telling the reality?

Sony and Canon are apparently each the primary mirrorless vendor within the USA and each have the info to show it. Customers aren’t any stranger to outrageous claims by producers, however on this occasion, it’s doubly unusual as a result of each corporations are utilizing the identical knowledge! So what is definitely happening?

Each Canon and Sony are utilizing knowledge from NPD, a big market analytics agency that displays over 600,000 stores all through North America throughout a variety of retail sectors together with cameras and lenses. The excellent news is the info is predicated upon monitoring massive volumes of retail transactions (principally the variety of models offered and their worth) that symbolize a major proportion of the full North American market.

Analyzing Sony’s Declare to the Throne

Step one in understanding what’s going on is to truly break down the claims that Sony and Canon have made. Sony first, it states that in 2021 it was:

  1. Primary mirrorless digicam model.
  2. Primary full-frame mirrorless digicam model.
  3. Eighth consecutive 12 months as primary in full-frame mirrorless.
  4. Primary mirrorless lens model.
  5. Primary promoting full-frame interchangeable lens digicam line (Alpha 7) for the fourth 12 months in a row.

With any declare about rating “primary”, it’s essential to notice any qualifiers and what numbers the rating is predicated upon. For (1), (2), and (3), they’re primarily based upon the gross sales worth of mirrorless and full-frame interchangeable-lens cameras (ILCs). For (4), this makes use of Sony’s personal inner analysis, whereas (5) is predicated upon unit gross sales somewhat than gross sales worth. PetaPixel requested Sony what “inner analysis” truly means and a consultant defined that it’s NPD knowledge that Sony acquired however wanted to parse internally since NPD didn’t present that particular statistic.

Whatever the supply of the info, do Sony’s claims stand as much as scrutiny? When it comes to mirrorless gross sales worth, we all know from the Japanese BCN knowledge that Sony had a 32% share of that market, versus Canon with 28%. Extra importantly, it has a full lineup of full-frame cameras which means it advantages from excessive gross sales costs and margins. When it comes to the cash it’s raking in, that is appropriate.

On condition that the second declare is based on the primary, it’s not stunning that additionally it is true. The third declare is a bit more ambiguous. Sony was the primary mirrorless full-frame producer and, till 2018, the one one. Because the BCN knowledge exhibits, Olympus has lengthy had a big market share and outsold Sony. That is cherry-picking at its best as Sony was primary as a result of it was the solely producer of full-frame!

We are able to low cost Sony’s fourth declare as there isn’t any technique to confirm it; the corporate wants to point out its knowledge. The fifth declare is a masterclass in cherry-picking: having used gross sales worth, Sony switches to gross sales models for help. To confuse issues additional, what’s the Alpha 7 vary? Keep in mind that Sony has lengthy offered earlier iterations of the identical mannequin, which embody the R and S variants. Are these the identical “line” and may they be classed as such?

Analyzing Canon’s Declare to the Throne

Canon in the meantime selected to go together with the next headlines:

  1. Primary digital digicam firm.
  2. Primary mirrorless unit gross sales.
  3. Primary in full-frame digicam gross sales.
  4. Primary in lens gross sales.

Canon can be utilizing NPD’s knowledge, so let’s break this down once more. For (1) that is the full variety of stills cameras; built-in, DSLR, and mirrorless. Properly cherry-picked and no marvel Canon is primary given what number of cameras it sells in every class.

(2) is maybe a very powerful declare as a result of the entire advertising and marketing hype is principally targeted on the mirrorless section and Canon is claiming essentially the most quantity of mirrorless cameras offered in North America. What we will glean from that is that Canon is promoting extra mirrorless cameras than Sony (which contains each EOS-M and EOS-R), however that Sony is trumping it for the worth of its gross sales. In fact, who’s making the best revenue is anyone’s guess.

For (3), Canon is now again to DSLR and mirrorless full-frame gross sales; all of these DSLRs simply outsell Sony. Canon refers to only lens gross sales, which recommend each models and worth. Given Sony has needed to resort to its personal knowledge, Canon might be main the market on this entrance, incorporating each EF and R mounts.

A Clearer Image of the 2021 Digital camera Market

For all of the smoke and mirrors, there are some concrete details you possibly can draw. Firstly, Sony and Canon appear to be neck-and-neck in North America, with Canon promoting extra mirrorless cameras, however Sony main on whole worth.

Secondly, Canon appears to have a transparent lead in lens gross sales, however that is for mixed DSLR and mirrorless. Given Sony’s lack of third-party knowledge, this will truly determine a weak spot for them; with so many third-party producers supporting the E-mount, gross sales should have been impacted.

Thirdly, for all Sony’s bluff-and-bluster we all know that Olympus has had a major market share up to now. In actual fact, if you happen to have a look at the 2020 mirrorless market share from Techno Techniques Analysis, then it’s clear that Fuji, Olympus, and Nikon all have vital parts.

Lastly, Canon sells lots of cameras. If we use the BCN 2021 market share knowledge as an estimate — mixed with CIPA cargo knowledge — then Canon presumably sells someplace within the area of three.2 million cameras or 38% of the whole market. It’s fairly merely a Goliath and Sony is feeling the pinch because it ramps up mirrorless merchandise and manufacturing.


Picture credit: Inventory photograph licensed from Depositphotos





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