Kumamoto earthquake takes toll on camera sales

August 8, 2016

Nikon reported strong sales of the D500, though overall sales of system cameras fell more than 30%

The Japanese quake was partly blamed for quarterly falls in camera sales for the three months from April to June, compared to the same three months a year earlier.

Olympus reported a 25% drop in camera sales from April to June, causing its imaging business to slip into the red by 218 million yen (around £1.63m) – despite efforts to ‘squeeze’ expenses. This compares to a 1.1 billion yen profit in the same period a year earlier.

Sales of mirrorless cameras slid 23%, according to Olympus’s results for the first quarter of the 2017 financial year.

‘Sales and income down due to temporary mirrorless camera market stagnancy caused by the Kumamoto Earthquake and planned 2nd-half launches of new products,’ the company said.

It added: ‘Ongoing moves to shrink the Imaging Business to a scale more appropriate for the shrinking market, and the impact of the Kumamoto Earthquake of April 2016 – which caused delays in the supply of some products – resulted in lower sales for the Imaging Business.’

Meanwhile, demand for Nikon interchangeable-lens cameras fell around 32% in the same period, compared to the same quarter in 2015. Lens sales saw a similar fall.

In a statement, Nikon explained that the decline in sales and profits was ‘due to the shrinking digital camera market, the effects of foreign exchange and the impact from the suppliers being disrupted by the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake’.

Nikon added:  ‘However, efforts were made to secure profits through cost reductions and the improvement of the product mix with strong sales of the D5 and D500…’