Canon claims that it has retained its mirrorless crown in the US market for the third year in succession. But that crown may slip soon.
Everybody loves a good sales figure, and marketing departments seem to like them more than anyone else. This is why Canon USA was happy to release a press release last week saying that it had held the #1 mirrorless camera brand position in the US for the third year in a row in 2023. It even put together a graphic for it.
Nothing as vulgar as actual numbers are attached to any of this, though it did say in a footnote that the figures are based upon unit sales as featured in Circana Retail Tracking Service data for the 12 months ending December 2023. As in 2021, when Sony and Canon both claimed the crown for separate reasons, this fine print qualification perhaps betrays that it is not necessarily number one in terms of out-and-out revenue. We’ll have to wait and see if Sony is minded to send a similar PR.
[Update: Sony has said to Peta Pixel it was the #1 full-frame mirrorless camera brand in 2023 (both dollars and units), with the emphasis in there probably being on 'full-frame.' It also says that the Sony a7IV was the #1 full-frame camera in 2023 (both dollars and units). “Despite these accomplishments, we made the decision to refrain from publicly broadcasting any of these claims via a press release or any other type of formal announcement,” it added.]
Circana data is annoyingly firewalled up to the hilt so we can’t dive into the figures and have a look ourselves. However, we do know a few things from other data sources.
According to Japan’s Camera & Imaging Products Association data, a total of 1.141 million mirrorless cameras were shipped to The Americas in 2023. While there’s obviously a fair amount of slippage between shipping and sales, and the Americas covers a lot more than the USA alone, the US is the most fertile market out there. That means that Canon probably sold getting up to half a million units. Not bad, considering the relative paucity of new models from the manufacturer last year.
Canon can’t afford to rest on its laurels, however. Japan’s BCN Awards for out-and-out sales figure success were released at the end of January. They show that after a three-year run from 2021-2023, this year Canon was usurped from its winning position as the best-selling mirrorless camera brand in Japan by Sony. And it will be interesting to see if that sales success starts to ripple out from Japan to other markets as the year progresses.