Thursday, April 14, 2016


Many reports about Leica and their products are inevitably accompanied by comments that they are too expensive, that nobody buys Leicas and similar comments forecasting (or hoping) their imminent demise.

Yet nothing could be further from the truth.  Leica Camera AG just published their yearly sales figures for the fiscal year which ended in March.  They point to a 12 percent increase in overall business, something that no other camera manufacturer can point to, as a matter of fact, the camera industry is in a general downturn.

Leica just recently introduced their collaboration with HUAWEI, the preeminent Chinese cell phone manufacturer.  That too was immediately criticized as ill-advised and comments of likely failure.

Huawei P9 (Photo: Business Wire)

An article in the Washington Post today puts Leica and their venture with HUAWEI indirectly into a different light.  The article has the headline “What the iPhone has done to cameras is completely insane.”

They write about the influence smart phones have had on many aspects of our daily lives.  They write:

There might, however, be no better example than the camera, which has suffered mightily since the iPhone was introduced almost 10 years ago.

They continue to write about the general growth of camera sales, especially digital point-and-shoot cameras.  These made photography substantially easier than ever before.  This is until the introduction of the i-Phone phone and cell phones in general.

Since then digital cameras for the amateur market have all but disappeared.  But over the last few years, even prosumer and professional camera have suffered.  Since 2011 total camera sales have dropped from high of over 120 million unites to about 35 million units in 2015, and the trend is continuing.

Cameras with interchangeable lenses initially were not influenced by this trend.  The initial new interest in photography, a result of the easier to operate digital cameras, led many people to step up to something more sophisticated, and interchangeable lenses were a definite factor in that.

But even that market has begun to suffer.  Interchangeable lens sales have dropped from a high of over 30 million units in 23013 to a low of about 22 million units in 2015.

In view of those facts, the 12 percent increase of Leica Camera AG clearly shows that they are on the right track, and their collaboration with HUAWEI can only help that growth to continue.  While all other major camera manufacturers have done nothing to compete on their own with these new market trends, Leica has shown the foresight to pursue an obviously more successful camera model strategy.

For the Washigton Post Article go here.


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