Sony has unveiled a new three-year plan for its business segments under new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, and it’s clear that one of the company’s primary goals is to dominate digital photography.
The company, already the clear-cut leader in image sensors with a reported 50% market share, is planning to invest 1 trillion yen (~$9 billion) into mostly image sensors over the next three years as companies like Samsung and (now) Canon have begun ramping up their own sensor businesses.
Canon and Nikon are still the heavyweights in the camera industry when it comes to market share, but Sony has made huge inroads in recent years with cameras such as the Sony a9, which just won “Camera of the Year” in Japan.
Now Sony is hoping to overtake the likes of Canon and Nikon by March 31, 2021 as the industry’s “top camera brand,” but it’s unclear what standard Sony is measuring “top” by.
The company also observes that there has been a “revitalization of the mirrorless camera market” — thanks in part to its technological advancements — and that one of the trends in the camera industry is that its competitors are becoming “more aggressive in the market.” Canon and Nikon are both reportedly planning to launch their first full-frame mirrorless cameras within the year.
Sony has experience in making ambitious plans and then achieving those goals. After being hammered by massive losses back in 2012, then-CEO Kazuo Hirai unveiled a “Ony Sony” initiative that aimed to trim unprofitable businesses while focusing on three core “pillar” businesses: digital imaging, gaming, and mobile. Fast forward five years, and Sony announced record profits in late 2017. A few months later, Hirai stepped down as CEO and handed the reins to Yoshida, having accomplished his goals of righting the ship.