Camera News

Canon’s annual results show a rough 2019, but tease ‘advanced’ mirrorless camera, lenses for 2020

Canon has published its 2019 fiscal year financial results and presentation. In the documents, Canon highlights how the company has done, shedding light on what we can expect in the coming year, both fiscally and on the development front.

On the financial front, Canon’s Imaging System division recorded net sales of 807.4B yen and a net operating profit of 48.2B yen a decrease of 16.8 percent and 62 percent, respectively, year-over-year. Canon anticipated a dramatic drop-off in both net sales and operating profit, due to ‘market contraction and the intensely competitive environment,’ but the final results are still slightly worse than expected at 14.6B yen and 2.6B yen lower than Canon’s projections as of last quarter.

Echoing CIPA data, Canon notes the interchangeable-lens camera market shrank 15 percent, with entry-level models being the most impacted due to the increasing capabilities and popularity of smartphones. Canon also recognized its own shortcomings, with a note in the presentation saying:

‘Although we have launched two full-frame mirrorless cameras as well as ten dedicated lenses, our lineup is still insufficient.’

Looking forward, Canon remains realistic, saying it ‘expect[s] camera revenue to decline due to the impact of continuing market contraction,’ but feels confident it will ‘put a stop to the decline in profitability, by further enhancing our mirrorless lineup with an advanced feature full-frame model and lenses, and by accelerating review of our business structure.’

Specifically, Canon makes it very clear that it’s working on more advanced mirrorless cameras, saying:

‘In order to recover from our late entry into the mirrorless camera market, we have plans to launch a model that incorporates a newly developed image sensor and image-processing engine that offer even more advanced features. We will work to raise our presence in the mirrorless camera category, leveraging large trade exhibitions around the world. Even amid increasing competition, we will expand sales of higher-end models driven by new products and aim for top market share even in the mirrorless camera market.’

Canon is projecting its net sales and operating profit for the 2020 fiscal year will be 787B yen and 53.7B yen, respectively, which would equate to a 2.5 percent decrease in net sales and an 11.5 percent increase in operating profit, year-over-year. In addition to offering more ‘advance feature full-frame’ mirrorless cameras and RF lenses, Canon’s projected increase in profitability will also likely be helped with fabrication costs now that it appears to have its mirrorless manufacturing facilities up and running.

Canon’s sentiments expressed in the presentation further lend credibility to the ongoing rumors about its forthcoming mirrorless cameras, but certainly fall short of telling the whole story, which we will only find out with time.