Sales of Canon digital cameras fell 11% in the last quarter of 2011 amid dwindling demand for compacts and shortages caused by the Japan earthquake and Thailand floods.

Meanwhile, Canon?s president Tsuneji Uchida has today announced he is stepping down to be replaced by current chairman Fujio Mitarai.

Japanese press reports suggest that Uchida has decided to step aside on 29 March after the firm predicted lower than expected group profit forecasts for 2012. Uchida will continue to serve as senior adviser.

Demand for Canon digital cameras dropped 11% in unit terms for the last three months of 2011 and 4% for the whole year.

Overall, Canon?s net sales revenue slid 4% and group profits grew by 0.8% – an increase the company attributed to ?lower effective income tax rate compared with the previous year,? according to business results released today.

However, sales of DSLRs remained strong amid the gloom.

In a statement the firm said: ?Although Canon was affected by supply shortages caused by the quake and flooding, efforts to ramp up production and boost sales in response to robust demand resulted in significant increases in year-on-year sales volumes for such digital cameras as the competitively priced EOS Digital Rebel T3i/T2i/T3, along with the EOS 5D Mark II and the new EOS 60D advanced-amateur models.

?As for compact digital cameras, while such models as the PowerShot ELPH 100HS/300 HS, PowerShot SX230 HS and PowerShot ELPH 310 HS recorded healthy sales, unit sales for the year declined due to sluggish markets in developed countries and the impact on production following the earthquake and floods.?

Canon inkjet printer sales also suffered from the floods in Thailand.

Though revenue declined 12.1% in the last quarter of 2011, compared with the same three months in 2010, inkjet printer unit sales rose 2% over the year, owing to ‘growth in emerging markets?.

Canon’s group sales were also hit by the strong yen, the firm added.

Last week Canon reported a 16% fall in camera sales in the Japanese market.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Picture: Amid the gloom, demand for DSLRs such as the EOS 5D Mark II remained strong