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August 2021 CIPA data: Demand is (mostly) steady, but production appears affected by global chip shortage: Digital Photography Review


The Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA) has published its August 2021 production and shipment data for digital still cameras, revealing shipments were steady across the board year-over-year (YoY) in August, while production slightly decreased YoY in August, likely due to the ongoing global chip shortage.

According to CIPA’s August 2021 data, 233,028 digital still camera units were produced and 249,804 units shipped worldwide, a decrease of 4.3% and 20.8%, respectively, compared to August 2020. Despite the decrease in both units produced and shipped, the value of the units shipped increased 15.1% YoY

This chart from CIPA shows total digital stills camera shipments in 2019 (purple, circles), 2020 (black, triangles) and 2021 (orange, squares). These numbers include compact cameras with built-in lenses, DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras. Click to enlarge.

If we exclude cameras with integrated lenses and dive into interchangeable lens cameras, CIPA’s data reveals August 2021 saw 379,613 units produced and 404,942 units shipped globally, a decrease of 15.3% and increase of 1.7%, respectively, compared to August 2020. As has been the trend over the past year or two, DSLR cameras accounted for a majority of the decrease in both units produced and units shipped.

This chart from CIPA shows total shipments for cameras with interchangeable lenses in 2019 (purple, circles), 2020 (black, triangles) and 2021 (orange, squares). Click to enlarge.

DSLR camera production was down 20.7% and DSLR camera shipments were down 11.9% compared to August 2020. The value of the DSLR units produced and shipped were down 30% and up 3.5%, respectively, YoY for August—an intriguing disparity suggesting it was mostly low-to-mid-range models produced and mid-to-high-end models shipped in August 2021. Mirrorless cameras saw production decrease 11.4% YoY and shipments increase 12.3% YoY. The value of mirrorless camera units produced decreased only 5.4% while the value of units shipped increased 24.8%.

CIPA’s complete June 2021 breakdown, which shows production and shipment data from January, February, March, April, May, June, July and August 2021 by camera type and region. Click to enlarge.

Of all the data, what stands out the most is the number of units produced—or, more accurately, the lack of units produced. Historically, camera production begins to increase quite dramatically in August, leading up to the holiday season. For example, in August 2020, the number of interchangeable lens camera units produced increased 88% compared to July 2020 and increased another 39.4% from August to September. That increase simply isn’t happening in 2021, despite it appearing as though shipments are fairly steady year-over-year.

This strongly suggests the global chip shortage is heavily impacting camera production, which might make it difficult to get your hands on camera units as we get closer to the holiday season. We’ll have to wait until CIPA releases its September numbers to see if anything changes, but as it stands, it appears as though supply, not demand, will be an issue leading into the 2021 holiday season.

You can find a full list of companies participating in CIPA’s data and view all historical data on CIPA’s website. You can find the full August 2021 dataset here.

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