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Author Topic: The meaning of market share...  (Read 1756 times)

BernardLanguillier

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The meaning of market share...
« on: August 02, 2018, 01:19:23 am »

What about the following scenario?
- computational photography on multi-lens smartphones continues to progress at a fast pace together with sensors,...
- this spreads to mid-range models costing less than 300 US$, bringing their ability to manage normal sized prints to an extend that most non experts won’t mind the small difference compared to their “big” camera
- As a result 90+% of people currently owning lower end DSLRs end up never upgrading to another interchangeable lens camera (mirrorless or not),
- Within 3 years the lower end of photography equipment goes from representing 80% of manufacturers’ revenue to only representing 20%
- As a result the “marketshare” metrics often used to monitor camera companies health ends up being completely irrelevant since it is mostly impacted by lower end bodies.

My questions are...
- how likely is this to happen?
- What companies does this put on top of the game?

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 01:36:06 am by BernardLanguillier »
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2018, 02:22:30 am »

I would guess, but could be wrong, that market share as an indicator of health would overwhelmingly favor Canon. I am not sure I am understanding you though.

What you are proposing is a scenario whereby lower and even some mid range camera market ceases to exist. That means the actual camera industry will then exist consisting of only the current high end. Is that correct?

I don’t think market share is a metric of company health. It’s a metric of company size and potential perhaps. Big companies go bust not infrequently. Kodak managed that in spectacular fashion. So could any of the camera manufacturers if they get it wrong. Wrong doesn’t neccesarily mean bad products either, it could be bad cost management, poor marketing, bad pricing and many other things as well.

In the past, during film days, it was not uncommon for amateur and enthusiast photographers to go literally decades without upgrading cameras. My father used a Minolta SRT 303 for 20 years, made a living with it for a time as well. Camera manufacturers survived in that environment so perhaps they will have to learn to do that again, or they will fail I suppose. Could it be caused by computational photography? I guess so, but it’s more likely to be caused by an indifference to photography and it’s tools. The cell phone rules and will, I suspect, continue to do so. In other words I think your scenario is very likely but not necessarily for the reasons you give on their own.   

I was surprised a few years ago listening in on a conversation between two models, a mua and a stylist as they went over the relative merits of the cameras in their cell phones while trying to decide what phone to upgrade to. They spent a lot of time on it and showed each other examples of what they and others were doing on various models of phone. They were fairly informed and had quite definate opinions and requirements.  Turns out that is a real thing and is not totally ignorant. They weren’t looking for a standalone camera however. Thing is the phone is upgraded regularly. It gives the opportunity to roll out new technology every two years. How does a camera manufacturer compete with that when a person buying a standalone camera is expected to keep it for years? It goes out of date after a few years. I suspect we will have to see more emphasis placed on firmware and software upgrades for cameras. That is a neglected area in my opinion.

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BernardLanguillier

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2018, 02:53:08 am »

I would guess, but could be wrong, that market share as an indicator of health would overwhelmingly favor Canon. I am not sure I am understanding you though.

It is the case today. The question is what it will become in 3 years after the low end pretty much dies out.

What you are proposing is a scenario whereby lower and even some mid range camera market ceases to exist. That means the actual camera industry will then exist consisting of only the current high end. Is that correct?

Yes. Not only, but mostly.

I was surprised a few years ago listening in on a conversation between two models, a mua and a stylist as they went over the relative merits of the cameras in their cell phones while trying to decide what phone to upgrade to. They spent a lot of time on it and showed each other examples of what they and others were doing on various models of phone. They were fairly informed and had quite definate opinions and requirements.  Turns out that is a real thing and is not totally ignorant. They weren’t looking for a standalone camera however. Thing is the phone is upgraded regularly. It gives the opportunity to roll out new technology every two years. How does a camera manufacturer compete with that when a person buying a standalone camera is expected to keep it for years? It goes out of date after a few years. I suspect we will have to see more emphasis placed on firmware and software upgrades for cameras. That is a neglected area in my opinion.

Exactly, this is what I am talking about. The point being that it doesn't stop with smartphone owners looking at their next smartphones. It is already extending to lower end DSLR owners considering that their phones, especially the iPhone 8 generation with simulated DoF, is good enough.

I was speaking to a friend last night. He has owned for a few years a Canon 7D, was never fully happy about the results, but still used it quite a bit. He has owned an iPhone8 for a few months... and hardly ever used his Canon any longer. He had been considering upgrading... but is now happy with his phone to take photographs of his 2 young kids.

He is IMHO very representative of a large majority of the market. He will keep his DSLR but will only use it when he needs a tele lens.

Cheers,
Bernard

32BT

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2018, 02:55:03 am »


- What companies does this put on top of the game?

Cheers,
Bernard

The answer to the following question might be relevant:
How do you propose to measure "on top of the game" if not by (skewed) marketshare?

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BernardLanguillier

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2018, 03:52:00 am »

The answer to the following question might be relevant:
How do you propose to measure "on top of the game" if not by (skewed) marketshare?

Well, if my crystal ball is right, camera division revenue could be a good indicator together with body numbers by segment?

Cheers,
Bernard

32BT

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2018, 06:51:28 am »

Well, if my crystal ball is right, camera division revenue could be a good indicator together with body numbers by segment?

Cheers,
Bernard

Perhaps relative revenueshare would be a good indicator if it were available and consistent. The problem is somewhat like this: if a cameracompany managed to ride the wave and squeeze out the bottom of the market when it could, but also stops development and offerings in time to move to the next wave, then clearly they are on top of their game, although the bottomline result may temporarily suffer.

I also much like the idea of focussed offerings, perhaps in niche markets, like Leica or Fuji who are clearly on top of their game and likely here to stay a while longer, although they won't have the market- or revenueshare to proof it.
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2018, 07:41:56 am »

I think it is highly unlikely that phone companies will cascade top lens/sensor tech to lower end phone models. Many people buy the expensive phones because that is where the good cameras are.

I think it is unlikely that phones will replace entry level ILC, given that you can get an entry level kit (camera plus 1 or 2 lenses) for very low cost.

But, even in a scenario where the entry level ILC market disappears, that would leave mid level and pro markets, where Canon still dominates, so...

Alan Klein

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2018, 07:47:15 am »

Beside considering upgrades and replacements, there are plenty of young people who are growing older who might buy their first camera.   Also, there are millions of people in formally poor countries such as in CHina who are leaving poverty and entering middle class who ache for the modern toys people in the west have grown accustomed too?  For example, 24 million Chinese will be buying a car, probably their first.  If half decided to buy cameras too, that's 12 million cameras.  See my point. 

shadowblade

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2018, 08:13:53 am »

Market share is irrelevant when different, barely-related categories are lumped together to give a single number, or when figures are used out of context.

'Canon has x% of the market' is a meaningless statement. Is that by volume, by sales or by profit? And are they talking about percentage of user base, or percentage of sales during one particular year (skewed by product releases)? What are the individual numbers for entry-level cropped sensor, higher-end crop sensor, entry-level full frame and high-end full-frame (much more useful figures than mirrorless vs SLR, since they are better indicators of end use)? And what about lenses? Canon moving large absolute numbers of cheap crop bodies (bundled with 18-55mm lenses) doesn't say much if Nikon or Sony are selling fewer D5 or A7r3 bodies, but also moving high-end lenses with them.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2018, 08:49:39 am »

I think it is highly unlikely that phone companies will cascade top lens/sensor tech to lower end phone models. Many people buy the expensive phones because that is where the good cameras are.

I think it is unlikely that phones will replace entry level ILC, given that you can get an entry level kit (camera plus 1 or 2 lenses) for very low cost.

Well, they won't have to. The iphone 5 is still sold today at a pretty low price and I expect the iPhone 8 to drop in price significantly in September 2018 and then again in September 2019.

By that time, Huawai, HTC and Samsung will have released better offerings at a lower price with better cameras because they won't give that segment of the market to 2 years old iPhone 8.

The right comparison is not between the price of a low end DSLR and that of a smartphone. The right comparison is between the price of a DSLR and the gap btwn a 2 years old iPhone 8 competitor and the cheaper smart phone with a worse camera. Because you have to own a smartphone and it won't be that much more expensive to have one with a very good camera. And that is just the price part of the equation, but they main one is going to be convenience and availability. You have your smartphone with you 100% of the time.

The smart phone with a "good camera" ends up being perceived as delivering a better experience than the camera, even though it's image quality may be worse in some cases.

Remember, we are not talking about experts, we are talking about the 90% of the camera owners who take pictures without "being into photography".

But, even in a scenario where the entry level ILC market disappears, that would leave mid level and pro markets, where Canon still dominates, so...

I would be interested to hear where you got your data on the pro market?

Around me I don't know any single Canon shooter left. They all moved to Sony. That is in Japan. I also see more and more black lenses in sports events, it was pretty obvious at Wimbledon recently, I was too focused on the performance of Belgium to look at the world cup. ;)

They certainly still have many pro shooters I guess, but I have never seen any data on this.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 09:19:03 am by BernardLanguillier »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2018, 08:50:33 am »

Market share is irrelevant when different, barely-related categories are lumped together to give a single number, or when figures are used out of context.

'Canon has x% of the market' is a meaningless statement. Is that by volume, by sales or by profit? And are they talking about percentage of user base, or percentage of sales during one particular year (skewed by product releases)? What are the individual numbers for entry-level cropped sensor, higher-end crop sensor, entry-level full frame and high-end full-frame (much more useful figures than mirrorless vs SLR, since they are better indicators of end use)? And what about lenses? Canon moving large absolute numbers of cheap crop bodies (bundled with 18-55mm lenses) doesn't say much if Nikon or Sony are selling fewer D5 or A7r3 bodies, but also moving high-end lenses with them.

Indeed.

I believe that market share is mostly used to refer to the % of new sales in volume (# of units) during the past month/quarter regardless of segment, meaning that it mostly refers to the % of cheap bodies sold.

And I do agree completely that this has very little relevance.

Cheers,
Bernard

BernardLanguillier

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2018, 09:23:51 am »

Beside considering upgrades and replacements, there are plenty of young people who are growing older who might buy their first camera.   Also, there are millions of people in formally poor countries such as in CHina who are leaving poverty and entering middle class who ache for the modern toys people in the west have grown accustomed too?  For example, 24 million Chinese will be buying a car, probably their first.  If half decided to buy cameras too, that's 12 million cameras.  See my point.

I used to think that way also. And I would agree that the larger the camera the better in China, which is probably why the DSLR numbers are still hanging on for now.

But I would not under-estimate the nationalist feeling of many young Chinese.

They will increasingly buy from Chinese brands and made in China, and that mostly means smart phones.

Cheers,
Bernard

32BT

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2018, 09:32:54 am »

Many people buy the expensive phones because that is where the good cameras are.

Many people buy expensive phones because the purchase model is extremely low-barrier.

I see so many people with the latest & greatest devices that they really can't afford under other circumstances. It probably explains the explosive increase in debt-counceling seen lately. I'm fairly certain if camera manufacturers (or car manufacturers) could introduce similar purchase barriers, sales would seriously increase. Not as wildly as phones, but still. 
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32BT

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2018, 09:37:55 am »

One of the more interesting but useless titbits my memory seems to retain is a pressrelease from Kodak right prior to defaulting. It claimed some nr 1 spot in some low-end camera category. The explanation that came to mind back then was the idea that numbers are probably very, very bloated because of comparing stock-sales vs actual consumer purchases.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2018, 09:54:11 am »

I see so many people with the latest & greatest devices that they really can't afford under other circumstances. It probably explains the explosive increase in debt-counceling seen lately. I'm fairly certain if camera manufacturers (or car manufacturers) could introduce similar purchase barriers, sales would seriously increase. Not as wildly as phones, but still.

Very good point indeed. The price of the phone is mostly diluted in monthly subscription fees which is nothing but a hidden form of credit.

Overall, we thought for a few years that compact cameras would resist smartphones and they we realized that they were dead. There is very little reason why low end DSLRs should resist better:
- smartphones have progressed a lot since they overtook compact cameras and they are now more than able to cover the actual needs of most users in terms of qualite while offering much more advances applications to tune photos, the ability to share instantly, the native local storage plus immediate cloud back up,...
- low end DSLRs are used like compact cameras, mostly with only one zoom lens, their only advantage is a different look thanks for more shallow DoF... but wait... smartphones have that covered too with computational photography.

The writting is all over the wall really.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 10:00:53 am by BernardLanguillier »
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NancyP

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2018, 10:32:01 am »

What happens is that cameras go back to being sold to hobbyists. I don't think that the hobbyists are going away. The lowest-end all-automatic cameras are going to dwindle, except in the drone / action cam field.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2018, 10:39:35 am »

What happens is that cameras go back to being sold to hobbyists. I don't think that the hobbyists are going away. The lowest-end all-automatic cameras are going to dwindle, except in the drone / action cam field.

Yes, exactly. Which means that the number of interchangeable lens based cameras sold will continue to decrease back to 1990 level within a few years.

Cheers,
Bernard

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2018, 05:27:10 pm »

The "fancy camera as status symbol" has been overtaken by the "fancy phone as status symbol". Fine - all status symbols have their day and then fall out of favor. The "camera as fashion statement" is largely passe. The phone's ubiquity in daily life makes ownership of the Absolute Latest Model easy to show off, for those who care about such things.

 The rest of us will be out there taking photographs with whatever camera matches our needs and pocketbook. 
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eronald

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2018, 08:15:36 pm »

The "fancy camera as status symbol" has been overtaken by the "fancy phone as status symbol". Fine - all status symbols have their day and then fall out of favor. The "camera as fashion statement" is largely passe. The phone's ubiquity in daily life makes ownership of the Absolute Latest Model easy to show off, for those who care about such things.

 The rest of us will be out there taking photographs with whatever camera matches our needs and pocketbook.

Actually the "teenage girl traveler with the big camera" is becoming a new cliché (sic).

Flagship phone cameras are so good mainly because the phone has $250 BOM of electronics in it, at cost price at huge economies of scale. No reasonably-priced camera can come close to a phone's processing power and as a result what the phone lacks in optics it makes up in clever signal processing. It's called "electronic" imaging for a reason :)

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Two23

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Re: The meaning of market share...
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2018, 02:12:03 am »

Yes, phone tech advances fast, but. camera et lenses aren't a stationary target.


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