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The forecast fall in camera and lens sales.....an observation


hobbo Plus
10 1.7k 4 England
25 Feb 2021 3:51AM
I have just skipped through a very detailed analysis of trends in the sales of camera and removable lenses.....very sadly it seems to be down, frightening many manufacturers and sales outlets.

To me, this is inevitable and is following almost exactly the demise of the once huge and very popular Woodworking and Woodturning Shows.... I was a regular demonstrator at many of these 20nor so years ago....at first they were crowded, happy places filled with eager buyers of expensive machines, accessories and timber.... then quite suddenly attendances began to decline..... I wasn’t the only sales/demonstrator, to comment that there were hardly any people under 50 attending; most were retiree’s ....a few young families attended but were few and far between...noticeable by me because I ran toy making workshops and. Demonstrations.....At the same time membership of Woodturning and carving clubs was falling rapidly, many to vanish for ever....for the same reason....very few, or no young members...

My question is then... The age range of Photo-Club members is the same....a majority of 45.to 95 plus , with hardly any young, enthusiastic members...has the mobile/smart phone and social media had something to do with it....or the huge changes in lifestyle and education ?

Points to ponder, over breakfast my friends...

Hobbo.
25 Feb 2021 8:42AM
It's certainly interesting how the market has changed, from hundreds of compact cameras, to almost none, and mostly premium or expensive cameras being all that is left...

This video looks into it based on CIPA data



25 Feb 2021 10:03AM
Modern photography gear just loses value too quickly, with an entry level compact being quoted as reasonable at £1000 in the photographic media and then worth £200-£500 6 months later, is it any wonder the market is fading.

A very large proportion of photographers are hobbyists, who take great pride in their equipment and skill, but most of us are of an older generation when pride in achievement was paramount.

There are very dedicated and skilled younger people out there, and they are to be praised and lauded as they are the future as we once were and take the trouble to learn their hobby.

On the other hand, the majority of the younger generation want everything instant, hence the i-phone, and social media. Snap one minute, seconds later around the world.

Consumer electronics are suffering the same problems.
miptog 15 3.6k 65 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2021 11:25AM
It would be interesting to see market data broken down into age and gender.
Lifestyle changes, social media and smartphones, education are all interlinked factors that have affected the change in demand for "conventional" cameras. I suspect social media platforms and smartphones have been the largest driver for change, allowing instant sharing of images, as well as social interaction . For example going out for a meal, a photo is taken of my first course, uploaded to Instagram, Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook and the like and shared with my friends, family and followers. "Look at this great meal I am having", "wow that looks good" comes the reply. Images have become transient, only of value at that moment in time, and not printed and displayed in a photo album for prosperity. It doesn't matter if the image is not sharp, or perfectly light, it's good enough for its intended purpose. The Smartphone does a pretty good job, as a point and shoot, its auto HDR, and image stabilisation kicks in, zoom in or out as required, the flash comes on if needed, and the auto exposure and auto focus work reasonably well. I can also send short video and live photos (photos that move), or do a pano shot that its instantly stitched. Additionally the Smartphone is not intrusive, it's simply put back on the table on in the pocket. Imagine this scenario with a dSLR! Now trying to capture a small bird at long range, or doing a macro shot the Smartphone just couldn't do it.
If going on Holiday abroad and flying, luggage restrictions mean taking a heavy dSLR, lens, flashguns, and tripods just won't allow me to take it on as hand luggage, and do I really want to put all that expensive kit in the hold.
There is a much steeper learning curve for "conventional" cameras, understanding, ISO, Shutter Speeds, Aperture, depth of field, focus points, making sure my flash sync speed is not exceeded, image stabilisation, etc. that is a barrier to adoption.
Social Media influencers have become adept at using there smartphones for images, understanding composition, light and also being highly creative. There are probably more people taking photos than ever before.
Smartphones have become mainstream, and "conventional" cameras niche.
ARI 18 575 1 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2021 11:31AM
I was in the Kruger NP om a self drive and catering photography break with my 37 year old nephew.  My kit was three slr bodies, mounted with a wide, medium telephoto zoom and a long prime attached with a 1.4 TC.  Nephew's  kit was his Apple iPhone and tablet.  We had amazing photo opportunities.  Nephew used my kit as a tryout and would not care for it for its weight and bulk and would not fit in his pocket or mini back pack. He accepted the Apple's limitations but could not accepts the bulk and weight limitations even of the smallest SLR.  Camera and lens sales are falling for two main reasons, in my opinion.  First is due to changing consumer tastes for convenience.  The second reason, especially in the UK is the price of kit due to huge mark ups.  All my kit over the last twenty years are 'grey' imports, still  huge savings after paying  duty and VAT.  No technical issues 'cos it is a grey import.My tupans worth on declining state of our hobby.
25 Feb 2021 1:27PM
I wonder if it is a phase that society is going through. 40 or so years ago most women had given up knitting and sewing - both as a way to clothe their family or as a hobby. But now if you go to a Crafters Fair it is so full it is difficult to move and folk travel for miles to attend one. There is enough interest to have created television shows - Sewing Bee, Kirsty's Craft, Pottery throw down' - and sewing and knitting being used as craftivism. I actually think that one of the things to have increased during the lockdown is that more people have tried to find things to do easily at home Also the 'add on' of many wild life programmes how the films were shot has increased the interest in being able to 'do it themselves' - not necessarily going into jungles and deep sea diving but watching the wild life locally. Trying to film the badger which has decided to use the cat flap to come into the kitchen and eat the cat food and succeeding!
JackAllTog Plus
12 6.2k 58 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2021 10:53PM
Although the latest kit cost is up there with the rental deposit on a flat, and disposable income is typically very tight when you are young; This does mean that 2nd hand prices are great.
Perhaps as Angie says its just not cool or glamourous any more. None of that travel the world and shot glamourous events lifestyle - rather an image of tripods, macro lenses or birders in cold huts. Instead its better to look cool and go to the gym.
Isn't that why manufactures are toying with concept video cameras etc97593_1614293223.jpg


What's the next big cool thing - will it ever again be the desire to capture images/movies that make you look cooler and gave you access to new areas and experiences ?

Of course most of us here just enjoy finding please in practicing and tweaking the hobby/skills we've developed over years.
LenShepherd 13 4.3k United Kingdom
26 Feb 2021 8:20AM

Quote:I have just skipped through a very detailed analysis of trends in the sales of camera and removable lenses.....very sadly it seems to be down, frightening many manufacturers and sales outlets.


You seem a little late to the party. Advanced camera sales have been dropping by around 15% a year for quite a few years.
I can remember a time when every High Street had a Dixons shop selling black and white chemicals.
Markets involve as customers demands involve.

Whether you are aware or not that getting an A3 print is not difficult from many modern smartphones is something I do not know.
Most smart phones are much better cameras than they are mobile phones.
They are still used for photography.
Most smart phones are much better cameras than they are mobile phones.


Quote: My question is then... The age range of Photo-Club members is the same....a majority of 45.to 95 plus , with hardly any young, enthusiastic members...has the mobile/smart phone and social media had something to do with it....or the huge changes in lifestyle and education ?
Hobbo.


My experience of current camera clubs is different to that you allude to.
I consider it difficult to be competent as a club photographer or a professional without developing significant post processing skills.
A majority of successful photographers now use much more than a camera to achieve the results that they get


hobbo Plus
10 1.7k 4 England
26 Feb 2021 8:40AM

Quote: My experience of current camera clubs is different to that you allude to.
I consider it difficult to be competent as a club photographer or a professional without developing significant post processing skills.
A majority of successful photographers now use much more than a camera to achieve the results that they get.



I agree with that statement....but what you seem to fail to grasp....is.......if clubs get no new, young members, then it is obvious they will die out... just like the many woodworking....Woodturning and woodcarving clubs....all requiring some skills plus expensive tools, machinery, accessories, workshop and materials......

So many vanished simply because there were no younger new members to take the place of those dying off....woodworking shows vanished as did many the manufacturers and sales teams I used to work alongside at exhibitions......

Cameras and photography seems to be going down that route sadly...

Hobbo
LenShepherd 13 4.3k United Kingdom
26 Feb 2021 12:41PM

Quote:

I agree with that statement....but what you seem to fail to grasp....is.......if clubs get no new, young members, then it is obvious they will die out...


My experience is different.
Many clubs gain more new and younger members than cease membership due to old age.
Not intended in a sexist way - half the committee of my main camera club are female.
hobbo Plus
10 1.7k 4 England
26 Feb 2021 4:51PM

Quote:
Quote:

I agree with that statement....but what you seem to fail to grasp....is.......if clubs get no new, young members, then it is obvious they will die out...


My experience is different.
Many clubs gain more new and younger members than cease membership due to old age.
Not intended in a sexist way - half the committee of my main camera club are female.



That is great snd encouraging news Len...

Hobbo
AlexE 4 187 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2021 6:45PM
I don't know if camera club membership is an accurate reflection on the amount of people who are photographers.

I don't think that any of the young photographers that I know are members of clubs, I planned to join one some time ago, but was unsure how often I would be able to attend, and didn't want to fork out money for something that I wouldn't use.

There are a lot of pressures on younger people with academic work and after school clubs. I think that potentially running an outreach program from a camera club into a local school every month as an after school club would have a good attendance (if you can't beat it join it Wink ). Hopefully the value of the experience would lead them then to become full time members.
(A very heavy discount for students could also work)

There's no doubt that photography is changing, but people who have borrowed my cameras don't deny that you can create far better images on them, even just running on full auto.

After reading LenShepherd's comment:

Quote:half the committee of my main camera club are female

I might go research camera clubs again...
LenShepherd 13 4.3k United Kingdom
26 Feb 2021 9:39PM

Quote:I don't know if camera club membership is an accurate reflection on the amount of people who are photographers.
...


A very good point.
Carabosse 18 41.5k 270 England
27 Feb 2021 1:43AM
There will be a whole generation out there which thinks that a smartphone is the normal device with which to take photos.

A camera to them is that funny old thing grandad uses. And even he mainly uses his phone these days so he can instantly share his pics with the grandchildren.............
miptog 15 3.6k 65 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2021 11:22AM
I wonder what the percentage of images submitted to bodies like the RPS are smartphone or camera, and if membership is declining, rising or staying stable, which also applies to camera clubs. Are Camera Clubs (Photographic Societies) , embracing smartphone images, or do they have a bias towards images taken with Cameras?

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