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October 25, 2012

Canon financial results for Q3 2012 not as sexy as they used to be

It is earnings season once again, and Canon has published their earnings for the 3rd quarter of 2012. You can find all the details at their Investor Relations page [typing tip: be careful when typing invest or insect, a small mental typo can produce yet another, completely different word; but I am digressing already].

The world economy woes impacted Canon as well. Sales of digital cameras were down compared to the 3rd quarter of 2011. Interchangeable lens camera unit sales were down 7% and fixed-lens camera sales were down 21%. This is in terms of units, not value (money) from the sales. The consolidated Results Canon report explained these numbers as follows:

"Within the Imaging System Business Unit, despite efforts to achieve sales growth with the competitively priced EOS Digital Rebel series along with the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 60D advanced-amateur models, sales volumes of interchangeable-lens digital cameras decreased from the year-ago period due to a delayed new-product launch. As for compact digital cameras, while highly functional PowerShot-series models contributed to healthy sales, unit sales for the third quarter declined from the corresponding period of the previous year due to sluggish market demand"

Delayed product launch eh? Were they planning to launch the 6D full-frame DSLR earlier on? [it is still in pre-order state, while the Nikon D600 has been steadily in-stock] Or the D-Rebel T4i? (usually the new D-Rebels get announced in February/March, but the T4i was announced in June 2012). Or the not-yet-revealed 60D/7D replacement(s)?

The Canon 5D Mark III is obviously priced so high, it cannot have unit sales impact the way D-Rebels do or other sub-$1000 DSLRs/iLCs. With a starting price of $3,500, what were thinking? In making adjustments to the supply-and-demand curve, did they intentionally overcompensate the 5DMk3 price in order to prevent a repeat of the 5DMk2 availability woes? As you may recall recalling, in 2009 and part of 2010 it was easier to find Bigfoot than a 5D Mark II in-stock when you wanted it ;-)

DSLR sales continued to dominate money-wise. Even though they were only 1/3rd of all Canon cameras sold, they brought in 79% of the $$$.

Operating profit of the whole imaging system (including ink-jet printers) was down 30% compared to Q3 of 2011, but it is still a healthy profit, which is something a number of companies do not have on a regular basis!

Projections for Fiscal Year
Canon also published forward looking statements for the 2012 fiscal year, and the estimates (part future-estimates, part based on previously published quarters) show improvement across the board compared to the 2011 fiscal year, with a 22% increase in interchangeable lens camera sales and even a (probably margin of error) 1% increase in fixed lens cameras. DSLRs/iLC (because the EOS-M mirrorless is starting to come out) are estimated to be 32% of camera unit sales but 76% of the $$$.

Operating profit for their imaging system (including ink-jet printers) is projected to be slightly higher than fiscal year 2011, but also slightly lower than their previous 2012 fiscal year estimate.

Alert via Engadget.

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