BCN data shows mirrorless camera sales have dropped 50% YoY for March amidst COVID-19 pandemic

An illustration from BCN Retail showing the unit sales percentage, by manufacturer, of Canon (Blue), Olympus (Green) and Sony (Red).

It was only a matter of time before we started to see the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on camera sales, and today we’re getting our first glimpse at just how brutal the global pandemic has been on the camera industry.

BCN Retail, an analyst firm that collects daily sales data of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras directly from online and in-person points of sale in the Japanese camera market, has shared the numbers from its March data, and it’s not pretty. While January and February saw a year-over-year (YoY) decline of 9.9 percent and 23.5 percent, respectively, March saw a decrease of 50.5 percent (compared to March 2019).

This decrease is well above the relatively consistent 15–20 percent YoY decrease we’ve seen over the past few years and goes to show just how hard the coronavirus pandemic is affecting sales, even if BCN’s data is only a relatively small sample size.

As far as sales volume goes, BCN says Canon, Olympus and Sony have all dropped YoY, while Fujifilm stands alone as the only manufacturer to increase its share of the market.

A chart showing the most popular cameras in the Japanese market, based on BCN Retail’s data.

BCN also shares what cameras have performed best, based on sales volume, with the Canon EOS M50 barely edging out the Olympus Pen E-PL9. Sony’s a6400 rounds out the top three, with the a6000 still coming in fifth, despite being six years old.

It’s safe to assume these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg as near-global stay-at-home mandates and quarantines continue in an effort to #flattenthecurve of the COVID-19 pandemic. CIPA’s data won’t be here for a while, but it will likely tell a similar story at a much larger scale.