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UPDATE: Olympus lead the mirrorless market in Japan


UPDATE: There was an error with the google translation tool. Olympus leas the mirrorless market in Japan (not the DSLR+Mirrorless market). They currently have a sales share of 38.7% and do beat Sony, Panasonic, Ricoh and Leica.

But there is a lot to do for Olympus. They have to translate the success into the rest of the world and work on a new sensor!

  • chi

    ep3 must have been a huge hit

    • MikeS

      The E-PL2 wasn’t too shabby, either.

    • Mr. Reeee

      Given all Olympus’ refurbished camera and lens sales lately, one would expect their sales to jump.

      • napalm

        Those refurb deals weren’t in Japan right? m4/3 is really a hit in Asia, as much as the West dont want to believe hehehe

        • A lot of Olympus’ recent Japan sales have been E-PL1s models (yes, there’s an s in the name). This is offload of existing inventory at fire sale prices. One thing I’ve noticed lately is that the Japanese market has become more price sensitive in the last year.

          • lnqe-M.

            OK Thom, but have E-PL3 and E-PM1 start sell in Japan ?

          • @Thom Hogan
            your use of the term “fire sale prices” suggests they are going out of business and is WHOLLY INAPPROPRIATE which is not the case.
            How about selling at a reduced margin on products that they have previously sold at a higher margin with a wish to now increase market share by targeting people interested in trying interchangeable lens cameras a cheap way in who might upgrade later on and/or buy Olympus lenses…

            • To cite Wikipedia: “A fire sale is the sale of goods at extremely discounted prices, typically when the seller faces bankruptcy or other impending distress. The term may originally have been based on the sale of goods at a heavy discount due to fire damage. A fire sale may or may not be a closeout, the final sale of goods to zero inventory.”

              Let’s see: “extremely discounted prices,” check; “impending distress,” well, having first generation inventory around when third generation product is shipping is a form of distress because it means someone didn’t do their job in projecting sales of generation one, so check; “goods to zero inventory,” check. Under current popular definition, I think my use of the term fits.

              Now, about those “product margins.” OlympusUSA still has some E-PL1 in stock, too. They list it currently at US$499, though it’s difficult to see how they’ll sell much of it or the E-PL2 at that price when the E-PL3 has a faster lens, faster autofocus, and a better swivel LCD for US$100 more.

              The original dealer cost was ten dollars more than the current OlympusUSA price, by the way. When they’ve done their periodic $US399 flushes of the product (there, I didn’t say fire sale), what do you think the reduced product margin is? To sell through dealers at that price, they have to sell to the dealer at about US$339, so a grand total of US$30 is left to cover marketing, distribution, sales, and overhead costs. In short, there’s not really any product margin at all when they do that. Thus my language.

              By the way, you’re the one who inferred a negative connotation from what I wrote. I actually didn’t say whether or not a fire sale was justified or not. So let me be clear: if I had E-PL1’s in stock (or E-PL2’s for that matter) when I was trying to establish the E-PL3 as the camera to beat, you’d better bet I’d have a fire sale. It would be a negative thing if they didn’t ;~). Frankly, I’m happy to see them get aggressive about unloading inventory, because the alternative is a very nasty state of affairs. However, my comment in this thread was actually intended to alert people to the fact that Olympus’s ascendency on the sales lists in Japan might be short-lived, as it’s the result of price cutting. Something tells me they won’t be so aggressive about E-PL3 prices for awhile.

              • Thank You for your reply – people can see you for what you are ;~)
                “typically when the seller faces bankruptcy or other impending distress” most people wouldn’t say reducing prices on older stock to make space for newer stock and/or gain market share as impending distress. It’s the nature of the competitive market (assuming you a competitive camera company and not one of the two who abuses your dominate market position).
                Also you have not presented any evidence of “lot of Olympus’ recent Japan sales have been E-PL1s models” and what price they were actually sold at in Japan.
                “OlympusUSA still has some E-PL1 in stock, too” the rest of the world market largely doesn’t, just maybe the problem is actually to do with the USA market! (A point you will ignore me thinks).
                Marketing, distribution and overhead costs (as well as development costs) has already been done with the older products and paid for when they were newer generation products at a higher price at a higher volume.
                And like I said Olympus could gain out those few people who bought at a lower margin when after being pleasantly surprised with their camera they then go on to buy lenses and/or upgrade their camera as well as spreading valuable word of mouth.
                Your use of the old fashioned term “fire sale” only has a negative connotation EVER.
                “Olympus’s ascendency on the sales lists in Japan might be short-lived” your wrong opinion hahaha…
                …so much to learn about the times we now live in.

                • MichaelKJ


                  When was this designated as a site where people are only allowed to praise m4/3?

                  The financial results for Olympus paint a different picture than the its market share for the first part of this year. For the quarter ending June 30 2011(versus the first quarter 2010), Oly’s camera sales revenue stayed the same (30,842 million yen versus 30,847 million yen). This was a significant improvement over financial results for the fiscal year ending March 30, 2011. Camera sales revenue for the year declined 26.4% from the previous year (-8% in Japan and -30% elsewhere).

                  By way of comparison, in the first quarter 2011 Nikon’s imaging division had an 18% increase in net sales revenue and a 29.5% increase in number of DSLRs sold.



                  • @MichaelKJ
                    maybe we should totally troll the Nikon websites then, or is your belief that it’s OK to come here repeatedly and to have nothing nice to say about micro four thirds?

                    • fkyui

                      you mean just like you troll the Sony forum on DPreview good to have an expert on hand lol

  • Unbelievable!!

    But I am not surprised. Next it will be Panasonic and Sony which will out sell Canon and Nikon. The lack of new products and the small incremental improvements to their best sellers have squandered any advantage they’ve built up in the past few decades. A monumental management error in my view.

    New Canon DSLRs… where on earth are they!?? The 600D was a joke. Almost identical to the predecessor, and the same with the 60D – almost identical to the 7D in image quality terms.

    And I believe Nikon’s small sensor mirrorless will be a flop.

    • +10 no love lost from me to Canon and Nikon, they and their clique have held back photography for years…

  • Bizzarrini

    Are you sure about those numbers? The second category (DC lens replacement type) sounds more like DSLR, and ‘Les Miller SLR’ is perhaps mirrorless? Perhaps bad Google translations? In that case no wonder Oly beats Canon and Nikon: they don’t have one yet…

    • WyldRage


      Les Miller = Mirrorless.

  • Isn’t the category above (lens replacement type) normal dslrs? So Olympus 38.7% share is “only” of the mirrorless market. Still, Oly is clearly ahead of Sony and Panasonic in mirrorless cameras.

    • Funny, that sounds like a good name for the cameras. Forget EVIL, or MILS. They are Les Miller cameras.

      • Mick

        First one to register gets a billion points..

  • Nelson

    Yeah, I bet in terms of sales Canon DSLR is a lot more than Oly’s mirrorless

  • chi

    “les miller slr” is mirrorless , i knew it was too good to be true

  • twoomy

    Hee heee, yup Olympus mirrorless is totally outselling Nikon’s and Canon’s mirrorless. :) Oh well. This will be something to celebrate if still true in five months.

  • safaridon

    The above figures do show Oly doing very well in Japan with 38% of the mirrorless interchangeable lens market for the first half of year however recently both Pany and Sony have come on strong with Oly having peaked for now with Ep3 sales in particular. I would also look at the more recent BCN Japan rankings for indications of more recent trends. Unfortunately all the various models of a particular camera model are not combined but one can still come to some conclusions.

    Clearly DSLRs still have a lead but only in a few models with D3100 in the front followed by EOS X5. Then the GF3 probably is the 3rd fastest seller followed closely by the NEX5 and GF2 followed by EPL2, EPL1, EP3, and then G3. The D5100, D7000, EOS 60P, and A55 & Kr are somewhere in the ranking mix below the top 5 and in the next 5 camera model sales mentioned.

    Given its rave review I would have expected the G3 to have jumped more but Pany may have more limited supply because of new sensor availability but they are getting a premium price. That may change with greater volume as new m4/3 lenses such as the 25/1.4 lens and rumored new very small zoom lenses are introduced and become available.

    So Canon and Nikon should be worried by now at the loss of sales and the GF3, NEX C3, G3, and EP3 are commanding high prices while the GF2,NEX5, and EPL1/2 are at reduced prices. My best educated guess is the m4/3 cameras now command about 40% of the overall interchangeable lens market in Japan and that is likely to grow still further with the most recent mirrorless models announced or rumored ie EPL3, E-PM1, and NEX 7 & NEX 5N and NX200.

    Again please note BCN rankings are only published for Japan with no comparable figures for sales in other countries. Indications are that the trend to smaller and mirrorless is also increasing but to lessor extent in Europe and UK with project 15-20% of DSLR sales with Pany in the forefront while the morrorless still lags in US only about 5-10% with DSLRs still dominating. I think things are likely to heat up in US once these cameras become more readily available in stores for people to handle and people appreciate their practical smaller size with adequate IQ. These figures are only very rough and approximate projections not actual sales.

    • tmrgrs

      Quote: “Given its rave review I would have expected the G3 to have jumped more but Pany may have more limited supply because of new sensor availability but they are getting a premium price”

      What’s more likely happening is that DSLR-style mirrorless cameras like the G3 just aren’t interesting to most buyers.

      • safaridon

        I agree that both 4/3 and m4/3 have had a hard time competing when using the DSLR shape however practical and I too long for Pany to put the innards of the G3 into a rangefinder style with the EVF projecting less. Given that fact the effort that Panasonic has put into their G and GH series have resulted in lower return and sales then their compact GF3 and GF2 which are doing very well.

        The G3 is hardly unpopular in some other countries as at one stage was the best selling m4/3 camera in UK I believe. At present the G3 is selling in Japan for about 75,000 yen or about $ 940, several hundred dollars more than list $700 price in the US and no doubt that affects sales as is higher than most entry DSLRs like the D3100. The G3 suffers more in US from the simple fact of lack of availability as Pany can sell elsewhere for more.

      • Mr. Reeee

        Feature for feature, the G3 is the current mid-range M4/3 camera to beat. True, it may have less appeal for less advanced users. However, the EP3 is a mid-range camera priced like top-end, nearly as high as the M4/3 flagship GH2.

        How many Oly refurb deals have been posted here in the past month? 2 per week is my estimate.

        Olympus seems to think that selling 1st and 2nd generation cameras alongside 3d generation cameras, all of which use the same sensor and have minor cosmetic and feature differences between NINE different models, is s good thing. But look at their P&S lineup. A few months ago I counted about 22 models, not including different colors!

        On some level, yes. You can get an EP1 or EPL1 dirt cheap these days, even lower tthan advanced P&S cameras like their own XZ-1. Both the EP2 and EPL2 are also quite inexpensive at this point.

        These prices give people interested in trying interchangeable lens cameras an easy and cheap way in. It porentially increases market share and hopefully these new customers will buy Oly lenses and accessories for their cameras, too.

        Panasonic’s supply problems are another issue entirely.

        • Kyle

          C’mon, really?

          Nice x2 refurb posts. I am sure any sales bump for Oly had nothing to do with them releasing a new line that was well-received.

          It must have been just refurbished units.

          I have Panasonic gear as well and anxiously awaiting the GFPro, but the new Oly line is good stuff.

  • Anonymous

    Ricoh I imagine is barely a factor. Leica’s only cameras in that category are the M9 and M9P which are super high end boutique items, so they probably don’t get much either.

    What that means is that Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony must be all pretty close together since Olympus is leading at just 38%. So they can’t be leading by that much of a margin.

  • leendertv

    Olympus can make a great hit with a Olympus E50!
    Many FourThirds users will buy this one!

  • Mick

    First came the Gibson Les Paul, now we have the Olympus Les Miller. Will this be the long awaited Pro model? Hoping the new terminology takes off.

  • marilyn

    i hope this statement will ring the bells of nikon and canon lol (practical smaller size with adequate IQ)… never small talk the M43 or 43 sensor… the power is yours lol

  • Jan Francois

    Fortunately for Oly, 12mp really is enough and they have subsequently focused on things that actually matter. The steady improvement and signs that they have learned some lessons from the poor choices made in their 4/3 offerings are rebuilding confidence that I thought, a couple years ago, was lost for good. If they keep this up, they might be ok, IMO.

  • Adam

    This is good news that consumers are buying into the system. Honestly I don’t know why most of the people who have a DLSR use them. Unless you are an avid or professional photographer the m4/3 are more than enough to meet you needs and are now matching the size of point and shoots.

    In just a short time Olympus and Panasonic have done quite a bit to refresh the camera world that has for years sat stagnate whole Canon and Nikon sat like fat cats doing nothing but ignore what people really want.

  • alexander

    Real good news! go oly go!!!

  • Henrik

    Hmm just woke up but If im playing with numbers… Admin recently posted a post about mirrorless market in Japan almost reaching 40%. Lets say this number grows to 50% (aka 50% of the cameras sold in Japan are mirrorless). If Olympus can keep thier share of this 50% (would be 19% if you convert from 100% count, since right now they have 38%).

    Canon keeps thier 29% (or in 50% numbers that would be 14,5%) sale of the 50% sold DSLR. Would this mean Olympus is bigger? I dunno Im confused by my own post :).

  • Miroslav

    “They have to translate the success into the rest of the world and work on a new sensor!”

    They should diversify their body options and offer cameras with built-in viewfinder.

  • MichaelKJ

    This is old news. BCN published these data on its website on June 23.

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