CIPA Press Conference on Camera Sales

bowing

Embarrassed executives from all the camera companies lined up in an extraordinary press conference at the Shinjuku Sheraton today. 

"Sumimasen" was the word of the day, as Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony executives came to the podium one at a time to apologize for misrepresenting camera sales so badly. This was, of course, accompanied by each man making a full 45°  bow that lasted five seconds or more, as is traditional in Japanese business culture. 

It turns out that the sales numbers reported by the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA)—to which all these companies belong and supply numbers—have been incorrect, and apparently dating all the way back to 2012 when someone decided to move all the spreadsheets over to Microsoft Excel and made a formula error. As the financial health of companies with large camera groups is often evaluated by analysts based upon these numbers, share prices of some companies were certainly affected by the mistake. Expect a massive correction on the Nikkei later today.

It turns out that one of the spreadsheets used by the organization and the data-supplying camera companies had a simple but fundamental error that was introduced in 2012. Instead of a plus sign in a formula, there was a minus sign. Where camera sales should have been shown to be going up, instead they were now shown to be going down. As everyone knows, the D5 and D800 were both very popular cameras introduced that year, but the CIPA charts all started to claim sales were down. Other cameras early in that time frame that everyone was sure were popular but apparently weren't due to the "bad CIPA numbers" include the Canon 6D and the original Sony A7 and A7R.

"It was almost as if we created charts that were upside down," said Hiroshi Hayashi, spokesman for CIPA. "All the lines pointed down due to the error; they should have pointed up." 

As a result, a new Internet myth has had to be started: because so many people are taking photos with smartphones these days, more people are deciding that they want a more capable device that has more ability and flexibility; they're buying cameras in droves.

          v

text and images © 2019 Thom Hogan
portions Copyright 1999-2018 Thom Hogan-- All Rights Reserved
Follow us on Twitter: @bythom, hashtags #bythom, #dslrbodies