German photo and imaging market records significant declines in 2020

The negative developments worldwide photo and imaging market were also evident in Germany last year. According to the German Photographic Industry Association (PIV), sales and turnover figures for photo and imaging products fell by double-digit percentages. The camera business was particularly affected. However, the association was encouraged by the trend towards more quality and higher average prices in this segment.

According to the data collected by PIV in cooperation with the market research company, GfK, sales of digital cameras, camcorders and action cams in Germany in 2020 fell by over 17 percent year-on-year to approximately Euro 720 million. The total number of cameras sold collapsed by over 25 percent to just 1.57 million units. While sales of classic single lens reflex cameras (DSLR) dropped by almost 40 percent, the loss in turnover was somewhat milder at 30 percent Due to higher sales prices per unit. With a drop in sales of 17,5 percent (units) and 5.5 percent (value), the mirrorless system cameras were less affected by the downturn. In line with the camera market, the number of lenses sold (without kit equipment) also fell by 17.5 percent to 554,000 units; the turnover declined by 11.5 percent to Euro 348 million.

The number of compact cameras sold (excluding action cams) fell in 2020 compared to the previous year by over 28 percent to 0.75 million units, while sales tumbled by almost 32 percent to Euro 162 million.

In 2020, the positive development in demand for instant cameras, which was so impressive in previous years in Germany, was slowed down with a volume decline of 15 percent to 450,000 units and sales of 34 million euros (minus 15 percent). However, since around nine films are sold in this country for each camera purchased, adding Euro 31 million to the turnover, the total value of the instant picture segment in Germany was still a respectable Euro 65 million.

The growing importance of moving images showed positive effects on the accessories market. In 2020, customers bought 0.866 million tripods and rigs, around 8.8 percent more than in the previous year; that resiultet in a turnover of Euro 61 million (plus 5.2 percent). Sales of flash guns reached 46,000 units, a minus of over 25 percent; sales here fell by 26.6 percent to a total of only Euro 11 million.

The sale of photo drones has developed positively: with 294,000 units, significantly more of these products were sold in 2020 than in the previous year, bringing a turnover of Euro 166 million euros to the coffers. In contrast, the demand for action cams (including body cams and 360 ° cameras) fell by almost 33 percent to 318,000 units, while sales dropped almost at the same rate to 60 million euros.

In contrast to the hardware business, the photofinishing segment was stable in 2020. With a slight increase, the number of photo books sold exceeded the 9 million mark for the first time, representing sales of Euro 310 million. The demand for value-added picture products such as wall decoration, calendars and photo gifts also developed positively; sales in this category reached Euro 364 million, almost 6 percent higher than in the previous year.

According to a press release, the fact that customers are still willing to invest in high-quality photo products gives the PIV confidence: „In the camera business, the average sales price even increased despite the 2020 pandemic and underlines the tendency to buy higher-quality products that require explanation,” explained the Kai Hillebrand (Panasonic), Chairman of the Association. “Here the photo retailers can score with advice, service and reliability. That makes us confident for the entire industry.”