Smartphone sales have slashed the value of stocks in companies like Nikon and Canon since their introduction in 2007, and now analysts say it’s going to be difficult for smaller camera companies to stay afloat at all.
“There are too many players,” said analyst Ryosuke Katsura. “It’s going to be tough for smaller camera makers even to remain in the business as competition between Canon and Nikon will likely intensify.”
Many companies have dramatically cut prices on the more desirable models to keep sales going–Nikon’s J2 model dropped in price about 64% from last year–but that also means they’ve had to cut back on production, which means fewer man hours. With so many phones carrying 41 mega-pixel cameras, the need simply isn’t there for point-and-shoot cameras.
This comes as smartphone manufacturers are working to expand their global markets, such as Huawei Technologies Co.; they plan on working to double their sales in Nigeria this year.
“With Nigeria developing economically, smartphone use will boom over the next five years,” said managing director for the company’s consumer business Tony Liang.
The news is more than troubling for camera makers, especially after century-old company Eastman Kodak went bankrupt after the smartphone boom. And as cameras get more sophisticated on smartphones, the need for a digital camera will likely fall more and more by the wayside.
“This is not going to reverse anytime soon,” said Amir Anarzadeh, manager of Japanese equity sales at BGC Singapore.