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Olympus digital camera sales down by -18%


In the fiscal first quarter (April-June 2010) Olympus sold 18% less cameras than in the quarter before. The result is not surprising if you consider that there have been no new FourThirds camera for a year now. “Only” two MicroFourThirds cameras, the Olympus E-P2 and the Olympus E-PL1 have been announced since July 2009. 43rumors expects at least two new Olympus cameras to be announced at Photokina (E-5 and a new Pen). Let’s see if that will stop the sales loss.

Source: (google english translation)

  • Tobias W.

    @Olympus: I will certainly buy the E-3 follow up model if it’s still weather sealed and has a better sensor with a higher resolution and less noise at ISO 400 and up compared to the current one.

  • You need to rephrase your post. Olympus didn’t sell 18% fewer cameras, they made 18% less money from how many cameras they sold. This is an issue that all the companies are fighting. Nikon expects to sell MORE cameras this year but make the SAME profit. In other words: declining prices.

    The problem is compounded by the appreciating yen. Olympus missed the actual yen/dollar and yen/Euro rates in their planning. This took money out of their pockets, too. That plus the fact that an E-P2 no longer sells for over a thousand bucks just hurts the bottom line.

    • Mk

      I’m surprised the E-P2 sells AT ALL given the current price… >$1000 must have been dreamed up by someone in Japan who was outside of his/her mind. If it were comparable to GF1 then maybe but that one is about $100 overpriced anyways. the worldwide economy is not exactly booming right now.

      hahaa, for 1000 I better get flash. No thanks to $150 for hot shoe flash, I’d pay maybe $30 just to have the capability. Preposterous… they basically overestimate how much this consumer is willing to spend on a flash by a factor of 5. MMMMKAY olympus, you keep making them, I’ll keep not buying!

      • Inge – M.

        Toshiyuki Terada in Olympus tell of 4/3 he like best is the E-620, so maybe we look new E-6XX kamera in next year.

  • newsed1

    No surprise. The E4/5/6 models were mainstream, good value cameras and now stocks are being run down. Here in the UK, they can be found very cheaply, mainly in electrical superstores.

    Olympus needs to be careful. The EXXX models were good value and had affordable compact lenses. The PEN series is more expensive and the lenses are more expensive. If I was Olympus’s product boss, I’d make sure that I had at least one good value 4/3 SLR in the line up. Perhaps the E30 can be facelifted and sold at a more budget price point?

  • mat

    Well, if Olympus releases the next Pen with an internal viewfinder I’ll definitely being doing my part to help those sales – maybe even buy two. Come on Olympus.

  • napalm

    2009 had the e-620, e-30, e-3 and e-p1. a big part of the sales were the e-620 and the e-p1 which sold pretty well for olympus even causing some stocking problems for the PEN if you could recall.

    this year it’s just between the e-p2 and e-pl1. i would expect a decline in sales for 4/3 as most are waiting for the new models to come out

    btw, when you say something is down by -18%, it means its positive. maybe you want to remove the ‘-‘ sign :)

  • Sales results listed in gross Dollars or Yen is very uninformative. Sales by number of bodies, lenses, accessories sold plus profit margins would give a much better picture of the health of the company. However, that data is unlikely to surface. I doubt even the common stock holders get that level of detail. Oly could have made more money in profit this 1st Quarter than last years 1st Quarter but who would know from this 18% statement.

    • At the moment, I don’t believe Olympus has released that information, even in private. The sometimes do release unit numbers, but it’s unlikely that they will this quarter because I believe those numbers will show weakness in volume, which is far scarier to the investment community than weakness in profit. With Nikon showing unit volume growth and estimating even stronger growth, down numbers in unit volume from Olympus would definitely send a bad signal to the market.

      For those complaining about the E-P1/E-P2 price, the E-PL1 was supposed to address that. But that’s what I think may be part of the problem: what if that didn’t produce significant unit volume growth? If all that happened is E-P2 sales became E-PL1 sales for the most part, then that meant that Olympus effectively lowered their income numbers. Oops.

  • Hey, if profits are down by a negative 18%, that means they’re up by 36% :D

  • azos

    i think the chart is ok. they sell less cameras in 2010. the reason is simple : no news, no cameras, no information.

    what is amazing : the numbers for 2011. those numbers are shocking.
    IF will be truth, Olympus will have at least 15-20% market share.
    and all this with Sony, Samsung, Pentax, Panasonic behind. faaaaar behind.

    • I don’t know what numbers you’re looking at. Since Nikon DOES announce unit volumes and just reported its numbers and a 35% market share, and since we expect Canon to report a 40% market share, it’s unlikely that Olympus has a 15-20% market share. This has been a problem for the camera companies for some time now: none have really been able to break into double digit market shares and loosen the Canon/Nikon hold on the market.

      • azos

        you don’t see the numbers in the right side of the chart?!!!!!

        15-20% WILL BE in 2010. if you look at the figures for march 2011. they tell us that will sell 27000 units in Japan and 122000 in the rest of the world. that means 5 times more then the actual figures. if they have 3-5% of the market now, that means that Olympus will have 15-20% market share in 2011, no metter the growth in this industry(maybe will increase by 5-10% maximum)

        • Voldenuit

          Whoa, don’t tell me you actually *believe* that sales forecast?

          Whoever dreamed it up is smoking crack. There is no way in hell Olympus Imaging is going to increase its Japanese revenue (that’s yen listed there, not units) by 5x and international revenue by 4x over the last financial year.

          Especially since they won’t have anything new for the next 3-6 months at the least, and are probably losing market share to NEX every day.

          I’m with Thom – there is no way Olympus has a 15% of market share. Not when mirrorless system cameras only make up 30% of Japanese sales (considerably lower overseas) and has to be split up between Olympus, Panasonic and Sony (and maybe Samsung, though I wouldn’t count on it in Japan). Their compact P&S cameras aren’t particularly interesting or noteworthy either.

  • There was an article in the Wall Street Journal about two months ago that said worldwide camera sales for all manufacturers was down quite a bit (I can’t recall the exact figure).

    This would be more meaningful if was put in the context of industry sales for the same period.

    • The current estimate for cameras with interchangeable lenses is somewhere around 12-13 million units this year, and that represents a healthy increase from last (10-11m).

      For digicams, the expected volume is 110 million units this year, and that’s either flat or slightly lower than last year depending upon who you ask.

      To put things in context, Nikon expects to sell 4.5 million DSLRs this year, Canon 5.5 million+. That’s at least 10 of the 12-13 million. To my knowledge, Olympus has never broken the 1 million a year mark.

  • Mordy

    These are for all cameras? not just SLR or ‘EVIL’?

    It seems to me that Oly’s point and shoot market has dissolved due to well, poor performance in everything compared to the competition. Even the tough cameras have a lot of competition now. I see two, maybe 3 models in a Bestbuy now.

  • kmyers1us

    I am wondering how many people (like myself) are waiting to see the E-5 and how many may have already jumped ship.

  • Inge – M.

    Take it easy, 39 days again.

  • bilgy_no1

    These figures show turn-over of the camera business as a whole, including digicams. Olympus hasn’t showed anything interesting in that class for a while. They had a niche with waterproof cameras for a little while, but others have jumped in massively since last year. The Olympus p&s line is very unexciting and does not stand out at all. P&S is a much bigger market than Dslr, so a downturn in that segment would impact sales significantly.

  • Honen

    Your post currently says “18% less cameras than in the quarter before”, but there are two problems with that. The first, as Thom pointed out, is that “sales” is a monetary item, not a volume item. The strength of the yen is a major issue here; the stronger it gets, the greater damage it does to its overseas sales figures (in yen terms).

    The second problem is that you should be saying not “in the quarter before”, but “in the same quarter a year ago”.

    For anyone who wants the original pdf (with a page of operating profit figures be business segment), it’s here:

    The “imaging” segment is the one you’re looking for.

  • youknowmyname

    This is supporting a thesis about camera sales with a table about revenue from the financials. It does not necessarily follow that camera sales are down.

  • jungle derry

    If Olympus would actually make the camera we all wanted their would be no issue. The E3 was a canon clone when all we wanted was a 10mpx E1. They sshould stop listening to marketing and fanboys. It would help if they got rid of the korean who f..cked up with the E3.

  • Inge – M.

    The new design line to Olympus, start at E-400.
    (many call the digital OM4)

  • All i want is a new camera for my 12-60, 50-200, 50-500. I kind of feel stupid for buying into the Olympus system, everybody said how long it had been for them to go from E-1 to E-3, but i hoped they had learned something;-) Obviously not. And the extra reach advantage with the 2 times crop is all gone with Canons 18 mp sensors. And then we have not even discussed high ISO performance and DR. You are 1 stop behind when the camera is released, and until next release you loose 2-3 stops more. Olympus you better pull something remarkable out off the sleeve, or you are going to loose one very patient customer, and sales will continue to go down. I might keep my E-PL1, and then again i propably switch that to a camera that is better for video;-)

  • Inge – M.

    Yes maybe Olympus should use GH1 sensor on a E3mkII by video winter -08/-09, after E-30 come?
    But Olympus have a big job by M4/3 that year too.

  • youknowmyname

    I think it should be more than the GH1 sensor can offer, lets make that a baseline.

  • Curry

    Why doesn’t Olympus try advertising? They have a great product and a non existent marketing campaign! Even MILK advertises…. Just a thought.

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