I am by no means a marketing expert. From where I sit, there was a bump in SLR sales when casual photographers wanted a "professional" camera and they ended up in over their heads because they had a point-and-shoot mental set. For a while there was a flurry of "My SLR is broken" questions on forums from users who changed a setting and didn't know what they did or how to undo it. ....
Good point, but your "bump" was actually a huge steeply uphill sloping mountain spanning over a decade of constant growth from the dawn of digital and the DSLR.
If we look at it in common street lingo of financial terms, it would have been one of the biggest "bubbles" in sales history that was of course destined to burst.
There were MANY factors inflating the massive digital photography bubble, among them;
- 1- (Circa 2001-2004) Digital is new kid on block, must have for early adopters
- 2- (circa 2003-2007) Film is dead, everyone must switch to digital. Newspapers, sport, wildlife, everyone. Record numbers of new camera bodies sold every year.
- 3- (circa 2003 - 2010) Digital darkroom pulls the troglodytes out of the basement, hobbyists get access to post processing with the cost of a PC vs. having to set up an actual dark room, hobby market explodes. This explosion drives hobbyist to begin "collecting" record numbers of high end professional SLR lenses in a manner and in numbers never seen before.
- 4- (circa 2001-2012) Digital technology evolving at rapid pace, sensor tech driving the need to upgrade. Film cameras did not improve IQ when new model came out, only features could convince pros and hobbyist to upgrade. Digital created a need to upgrade at a pace never seen in camera/film industry.
- 5- All of the above drives the largest SLR sales in history, outselling film era SLR sales by orders of magnitude. It is a good day to be Canon/Nikon etc.
I am sure that the camera divisions of some that were able to keep up grew exponentially as well, while some folded, (Kodak, Minolta) and some shrunk (Pentax, Olympus, Fuji) but those that rode the wave did very well. If they could not see a time when the bubble would burst,. well it was wishful thinking at best.
IMHO Mirrorless has little to nothing to do with the inevitable decline in camera sales. It held it's own strictly by virtue of being a new market. It would have been a growth market in the last decade. We could call it a growth market in recent years if instead of it moving forward we look the current landscape moving backwards behind Mirrorless, like a cheesy driving scene in a TV series from the 1980s.