There are plenty of reasons to be cheerful about the future of ‘conventional’ cameras, despite the continued challenge posed by smartphones, according to market data for 2023 coming from Japan.

The latest data from industry body The Camera and Imaging Products Association reveals that the value of the new digital camera market was up 5.37% year-on-year. This may not seem a huge amount but it’s positive news considering the havoc wrought on the market by the pandemic, global supply chain problems and a cost of living crunch in both Western and the hugely important Chinese markets. See the graphs from CIPA below.

Latest CIPA results

Shipments of interchangeable lens cameras reached a peak of 667,747 last September, a big increase from the same month in 2022 and 2021 (where shipments slumped to 429,820). Meanwhile the total value of of the retail market for digital interchangeable lens cameras has hit $16 billion this year.

CIPA interchangeable lens results

After crunching the latest numbers, used retailer MPB is predicting that the retail market will exceed its 2012 peak by next year. If so, this is will be quite an achievement, as 2012 was a landmark year for digital camera sales.

The optimistic predictions are also somewhat backed up by the 2023 financial results from Canon. The company’s imaging division saw year-on-year sales rise by a far-from-shabby 7.2%.

Continued compact slump, CIPA data shows

It is not all positive news, however, as shipments of cameras with built-in lenses (ie compact and bridge cameras) only peaked at 163,351 in the buoyant month of last September, a significant fall compared to the same month in 2021 (274,882).

CIPA results compact cameras
The glory days of compact camera sales are long gone

The continued focus on higher-end, premium priced mirrorless models and lenses continues to pay off for camera makers, with compact cameras rapidly becoming a very niche market sector. DSLRs are going down a similar route. According to CIPA, mirrorless cameras now represent more than 81% of the interchangeable lens market, up from 69% in 2022.

Not everyone has the desire or means to cough up for a premium-priced new mirrorless model or lens, however, which is good news for used retailers.

CIPA latest results
Premium priced higher end mirrorless kit is where the money is for makers, which will continue to drive the ‘cheaper’ quality used market, says MPB

‘From consumers to enthusiasts, we’re seeing an acceleration in the move towards mirrorless, which we know will continue,’ said Matt Barker, CEO of MPB. ‘As the cost of new lenses increases again, we anticipate more photographers turning to the used market in order to buy or upgrade their kit.’

Watch out for our money-saving issue of AP, which includes tips on getting the best price for your used gear when you sell it on, onsale February 13th. Why not subscribe to sure of getting it, AND you will save money.

Further reading
Best full-frame mirrorless cameras
Best second-hand full-frame camera bargains