Analysis: A Snapshot of Demand for Photography Gear

It’s hard to think of too many inventions that have had a greater impact on history than the camera. Between people snapping and posting shots from their phones, to professionals painstakingly setting up the perfect shot, countless photographs are snapped every year.

June 29th marks National Camera Day, a day when Americans are encouraged to celebrate by taking pictures and sharing them with the world, but we thought we’d celebrate by doing what we do best: diving into some data to learn more about online demand for cameras.

When is demand for cameras highest? Which types of cameras are the biggest sellers? Did COVID-19 impact online demand for cameras? Keep reading as we look to answer these questions and more.

When is online demand for cameras typically highest?

To understand online demand for cameras, we started by analyzing when people were searching for the term “camera” on Amazon every day in 2019 and 2020. We then combined total demand for each month of both of those years to see if a seasonal pattern emerged.

Demand for cameras across the past two years was definitely highest during the summer months, when people are more likely to be traveling, heading outdoors, and looking for a nice camera to capture their summer adventures.

November was the second biggest single month, even edging out December, which suggests people are slightly more likely to buy a camera to take pictures during the holidays instead of buying a camera as a last-minute holiday gift.

The sluggish demand during the spring months was surprising, and we immediately wondered if this was the result of COVID-19’s impact in 2020. So of course we had to dig deeper.

How did COVID-19 impact online demand for cameras?

Next we took a much closer look at 2020, examining when people were searching for the term “camera” for each week of the year.

Here we see clear evidence that COVID-19 had a significant impact on online demand for cameras.

Demand began to dip as early as late February, bottoming out during the week of March 15th as Americans began sheltering in place and practicing social distancing.

Demand began to recover in the springtime, but remained low even throughout the summer, only exceeding January’s levels during the height of the holiday shopping season. This suggests that COVID-19 depressed online demand for cameras throughout the year, as people were far less likely to be out traveling, adventuring, or getting together for big events and gatherings.

We can see an even clearer picture of this long-term impact when we compare monthly demand from January 2019 through April 2021:

In 2019, demand climbed steadily from March through June, then skyrocketing in July. This chart shows just how devastating last year’s slow summer was on online demand for cameras.

The good news is that it appears this year we may be on track for a return to more normal trends. Demand in 2021 has been at or above 2019’s levels for every month so far. It will be interesting to see if we see any evidence of pent-up demand as we proceed into summer and Americans start to head back out on summer adventures this year.

Which types and brands of cameras are the most popular?

The most popular camera in the world right now is easily the smartphone, but that doesn’t mean that all other cameras have become obsolete. Quite the contrary. From photo sharing apps to video and streaming platforms, quality photography equipment is still extremely popular.

So we next wanted to dive even deeper into our data by examining online demand for different types of cameras and some of the most popular camera brands.

First, let’s take a quick look at three of the major types of cameras: digital, film, and instant, starting with total combined demand from January 2019 through April this year.

As you might expect, digital cameras reign supreme, but film and instant cameras still maintain relatively strong niche demand.

Now let’s take a look at the major camera brands.

Canon was easily the most popular brand in our analysis, but at a surprisingly strong second place was Polaroid, which saw only 20% less demand than Canon.

From there we have a somewhat steeper drop to third place Sony and fourth place Nikon, who are the other two major players along with Canon in the higher-end digital camera space.

COVID-19 impacted some types and brands of cameras differently than others

Lastly, we wanted to take a closer look at these different brands and types of cameras to see if seasonal trends differed, and how COVID-19 may have impacted those individual trends.

To do this, we examined some of the major brands individually, comparing demand for each month from January 2019 through April of this year.

Let’s start with Canon, the most popular of the brands in our analysis:

In 2019, a “typical” year, demand for Canon cameras was highest during the summer and the holiday shopping seasons. As you can see, COVID-19 had a clear impact on demand in March of last year, although it appears demand for Canon cameras recovered to above-normal figures in May.

That recovery appears to have been short-lived, with Canon experiencing diminished demand through the summer. There was an unusual spike in October, but it appears to have been isolated, as demand fell again over the holidays and has been below 2019’s figures for each month so far this year.

Next up, Polaroid:

Polaroid cameras rely heavily on holiday sales, as demand in November and December doubles the monthly average during the rest of the year.

Demand was down throughout the year in 2020, starting with a modest dip in March that continued with demand staying below 2019’s figures through the rest of the year.

Things appear to be back to normal for Polaroid, though, as monthly demand in 2021 has been nearly identical to 2019.

Let’s now take a quick look at our third most popular camera brand.

Sony’s compact mirrorless cameras make them a popular mid-range travel camera, which is evidenced by its peaking demand in the summertime during a “normal” year. As you might expect, then, COVID appears to have had a major impact on demand for Sony cameras last year.

Once again, demand dipped in March and stayed below 2019’s figures for the rest of the year. 2021 has seen demand rebound slightly above last year’s, but fail to recover to 2019 so far. We’ll have to wait and see if this summer brings better news for Sony cameras.

Lastly, we wanted to highlight one type of camera that has bucked all the trends so far. Film cameras, once thought to be going the way of the dinosaur, appear to be only growing in popularity.

Not only did demand for film cameras appear to be unaffected by COVID-19, it actually increased from 2019 to 2020 in every single month of the year.

That trend only seems to be getting stronger in 2021. Demand for film cameras in April 2021 was 61% higher than in April 2020 and 90% higher than in April 2019. If 2021 follows typical seasonal trends, we should expect to see demand for film cameras only continue to climb.

While certainly still a niche product, there’s clear evidence that it’s a growing one.

A lesson for brands

Our data shows that COVID-19 had a definite impact on online demand for all types of cameras. It also showed us that the biggest time for online demand for cameras this year is still ahead of us, and we could very well see a significant rebound this summer and holiday season.

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.

To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights on the right.

And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, schedule a demo today.

Explore Our Ecommerce Resource Library

Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.

Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 13, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 13th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon scales back on US warehouse facilities Amazon is shutting down two facilities with 300 employees, discarding plans for 42 facilities, and delaying plans to open a further 21 buildings across the US. The ecommerce giant is scaling back on hiring as well as the expansion of its vast delivery network, as it was left with an excess of space following its rapid expansion during the pandemic. [Read more on Business Insider](https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-closes-2-facilities-scraps-plans-42-new-buildings-report-2022-9?r=US&IR=T) --- Other Marketplace News --- JD.com is ‘betting’ on ecommerce grocery market Amidst a slowing economy and a decline in ecommerce, Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com has increased its urgency to seek new growth engines. The company is looking to boost its online grocery business through offline partnerships and expansion into lower-tier cities, where it may be able to unleash more consumption power. [Read more on The Star](https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2022/09/08/chinese-ecommerce-giant-jdcom-bets-big-on-online-grocery-lower-tier-markets-amid-slowing-economy) Shopee shuts operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico Sea’s ecommerce arm, Shopee, has shut local operations in some LATAM countries but will continue to maintain cross-border operations in a few markets. Latin America is Sea’s most important region following South-east Asia, accounting for close to 19% of its revenue in 2021. The move away from these countries is largely due to increased levels of macro uncertainty and rising interest and inflation rates, and rather putting a focus on its core operations. [Read more on Straits Times](https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/seas-shopee-shuts-operations-in-argentina-chile-colombia-mexico-sources) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Instagram scales back in-stream shopping elements Instagram is re-examining its approach as it hasn’t been able to make ‘fetch’ happen. ‘Fetch’ in this context being the online shopping trends which have become all-consuming in China, and what Western social platforms have been hoping to add into their apps to make them more addictive and revenue-generating. Consumers have not been swayed by the latest shopping tools on TikTok and Instagram, leading to Instagram scaling back its in-stream shopping program. [Read more on SocialMediaToday](https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagram-scales-back-in-stream-shopping-elements-as-it-re-examines-its-app/631276/) FedEx Express supporting the growth of cross border ecommerce FedEx express has expanded its international commerce shipping service to four more markets across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region in an effort to support the strong development of ecommerce in this region. Three of the fastest growing markets, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are leading Southeast Asia’s ecommerce sales, which is set to reach $100 billion by 2023. [Read more on Post & Parcel](https://postandparcel.info/149889/news/e-commerce/fedex-express-supports-the-growth-of-cross-border-e-commerce-within-the-amea-region/) India ramps up hiring as companies prepare for shoppers Ecommerce companies are getting ready for the festive season by rapidly expanding their temporary workforce. As ecommerce in India grows, the country is predicted to have 372 million online shoppers by the end of 2022. The festive season this year, running from October to December, is expected to see a two-fold increase in logistics and delivery alone. During this period, companies are predicted to add 20% more to their existing workforce base, with a 8-10% higher pay scale compared to last year. [Read more on Business Insider India](https://www.businessinsider.in/business/ecommerce/news/the-great-indian-festival-of-hiring-e-commerce-companies-gear-up-for-indias-shoppers/articleshow/94000346.cms)
Sept 6, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)