It's that time of year again, where we get the quarterly financial statements and some bit of clarity on how things are going in the two biggest camera companies.
Canon announced first (back in the fourth week of July). I have to say, I don't understand their contradictory statements. For example: "Demand for interchangeable-lens digital cameras displayed strong growth all over the world" versus "Growth Rate y/y = -4%." Which is it Canon, growth or decline?
More and more trying to interpret Japanese business presentations is getting like trying to understand what a politician really thinks. My interpretation was that Canon sold more 6D and 7D cameras (and maybe 70D) and this pushed the overall sales numbers up in dollars (growth!), but that when all the counting is done, they sold fewer cameras (decline!). Oh, and that growth? 4.4% year to year measured on sales, 0.5% measured on profit. It's likely that lenses played into that, as well, but Canon didn't give us any numbers on lenses to evaluate.
Compact camera sales were down 26%. That's better than CIPA shipment numbers would suggest, but there's a lot of fudgeability both in the CIPA numbers and the camera makers' sales numbers. In both cases, those don't actually represent sales to customers. As I've noted elsewhere, the cash register receipt reports here in the US for the quarter are highly negative (-20% or so for even interchangeable lens cameras), and the US (along with Japan) is a region that Canon indicates is "recovering" (as opposed to "continued weakness" and "slowing growth."). We need another quarter's worth of results from Canon to get a clear indicator of their compact camera trend, but it's already visible that compact camera sales are getting less important in their overall imaging group results