Nikon Eyes Smartphone Camera Users as Sales of Compact Cameras Drop

Nikon Talks “Non Camera Consumer Products”

by Anton Shilov
07/08/2013 | 08:11 PM

It is not a secret that as cameras inside smartphones are getting better, the market of inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras shrinks. According to the head of Nikon Corp., a legendary maker of cameras, this year sales of low-cost cameras dropped significantly compared to 2012. As a result, the company is looking forward to develop certain products aimed at smartphone market.


Nikon projected in May a 53% percent gain in net income for the year started April 1, following a 28% decline in profit in the previous year. Imaging division accounted for 84% of operating income last fiscal year. At the same time, the legendary maker expects compact camera market to shrink 12% this year, but projects 9% gain of the market of high-end cameras.

Keeping in mind that low-cost cameras begin at $55, whereas high-end models can sell at $500 - $6000, Nikon can easily offset declines of the former by improving sales of the latter. However, the company can easily start developing imaging solutions for smartphones to compensate deteriorations of compact camera sales.

“The number of people taking snapshots is exploding by use of smartphones that sold 750 million or so last year and are still growing. We have centralized our ideas around cameras but can change our approach to offer products to that bigger market,” said Makoto Kimura, president of Nikon, in an interview with Bloomberg news-agency.

But Nikon does not want to reveal exact plans regarding its future products. While in theory the firm can easily develop camera modules for third-party smartphones, the firm can develop an own-brand handset or another consumer device with a camera.

“We want to create a product that will change the concept of cameras. It could be a non-camera consumer product. Rapid expansion of mobile devices is a change in business environment given to us. Our task going forward is to find an answer to that change,” said Mr. Kimura.

The president declined to say if the company was developing a mobile phone.