Japanese companies that are making photo cameras, such as Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus, are losing money as their sales are falling sharply.
The companies’ sales drop has started since mobile phones that take high-quality photos ate into the compact camera business. The sales of mirrorless cameras – seen as a high hope by the firms’ marketing departments – did not bring as much profit as estimated, because buyers put connectivity above picture quality.
Panasonic reported a 40 percent drop in overall camera sales in April-September. “If you look mid-to-long term, digital camera makers are slipping and the market is becoming an oligopoly,” said Credit Suisse AG imaging analyst Yu Yoshida, according to the international press.
Panasonic held 3.1 percent of the camera market in July-September, down from 3.8 percent in 2012, according to industry researcher IDC. Canon Inc., Nikon Corp. and Sony Corp. controlled over 60 percent between them.
“Only those who have a strong brand and are competitive on price will last,” said Yoshida, adding that at the moment only Canon, Nikon and Sony fulfill that criteria.
Panasonic, Olympus and Fujifilm do not yet have a definitive answer.