Once known only as the world's leading camera maker, Canon has slowly seen the nature of its business change over the years, first towards business machines, and now more firmly in the direction of computer peripherals such as printers. The group delivered spectacular growth in the late 1990s and early 2000s, becoming the world's leading manufacturer of office copiers, laser and bubble-jet printers. It still generates a sizeable proportion of its revenues (11% in 2020) from sales to HP which resells Canon laser printers under the HP badge. However, like other companies in its sector, Canon suffered the impact of the economic downturn after 2008, at least in part from the soaring value of the Japanese yen against other currencies: Canon is one of Japan's most international businesses, generating almost 75% of its revenues overseas, and more than half in the Americas and Europe. The combination of economic headwinds and fierce competition has caused sales to more or less plateau for the past decade. Camera sales have been especially hard hit by the competition from ever more sophisticated systems integrated into smartphones. Revenues from cameras have fallen by 40% in the two years to 2020. Canon sold 5m still cameras in 2018, but that figure had fallen by 2020 to just 2.8m cameras. Canon is traditionally the #2 globally behind HP in hardcopy peripherals - better known as personal printers - with around 20% market share by volume in 2020, equivalent to 20.4m units. However, performance in this sector has come under intense pressure from Epson, which briefly overtook Canon during the year. Group revenues for 2019 were approx $33.0bn, before falling below $30bn (Y3,160bn) for 2020. The latter figure was down around 30% from Canon's highs of the mid-2000s. Net income for 2020 was $781m. Office equipment (copiers, printers etc) accounted for 46% of revenues, and digital imaging (cameras and camcorders) for less than 23%. The group also makes medical imaging systems and components. Fujio Mitarai was the architect of Canon's explosive expansion in the 1990s. Although he turned 86 in 2021, he remains chairman & CEO. Long-serving president & COO Masaya Maeda stepped down in 2020 for health reasons, and has yet to be replaced.
Capsule checked 26th October 2021
Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets
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Who are the competitors of Canon? Primary competitors in Office Imaging are Xerox, Fuji Xerox, HP, Lexmark, Ricoh and Epson, as well as Toshiba, Sharp and Konica Minolta in some Asian markets. The group's competitors in cameras and camcorders are Sony, Fuji Photo Film, Olympus, Nikon, Casio, Panasonic, Eastman Kodak and Pentax. See IT & Office Technology Sector index for other companies. Also see Best Global Brands ranking
Historical profile information for Canon
Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Jun 2018: Ads of the Week: "Crossing Continents". We're all familiar with parkour by now, but it's still thrilling to watch when done with style. VCCP commissioned parkour team Storror to make a daredevil journey across Istanbul's Bosphorus strait and film the whole thing on-the-fly with Canon's latest generation cameras. The results are spectacular, easily on a par with any new Bond or Bourne movie. How many bruised shins and dislocated shoulders did it these guys endure to attain this level of skill?
Adbrands Weekly Update 23rd May 2017: Ads of the Week: "Live For The Story". VCCP takes Canon in a different direction with this clever and stylish pan-European campaign. Not a camera to be seen; instead the focus is on the story that lies behind any individual image. It's a brave angle, and the spot aims to get into our heads with some striking imagery as our protagonist grows up through a series of life moments.
Adbrands Weekly Update 12th Feb 2015: Canon signaled a shift in strategy with a $2.8bn offer to acquire Axis Communications, a Swedish company that is a global leader in video surveillance and security cameras. Canon's two main businesses of digital still cameras and office equipment have been under intense pressure in recent years.
Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Dec 2014: Ads of the Week: "Urban Deer". The latest spot from star director Jonathan Glazer and JWT London for Canon couldn't be more different than its predecessor (previously featured here), which offered a view of Italian "gladiator football". This time it's the urban deer that haunt London's Epping Forest suburb which fall under Glazer's eye. As before, the entire ad was filmed on Canon devices. The deer themselves are enchanting, but we feel the real stars of the spot are that urinacious fox and his little kitten buddy...
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Sep 2014: Ads of the Week: "Gladiator Football". American football and ice hockey are for wimps! At least compared to Calcio Storico, the so-called "gladiator football" played each year in the Italian city of Florence. It's the striking (in more ways than one) star of director Jonathan Glazer's great new spot for Canon via JWT London. It might appear to say little about the camera brand until you realise that the whole thing was filmed on ordinary Canon cameras. Clearly, what Rodney Dangerfield *should* have said was "I went to a fight the other night and a Calcio Storico match broke out..."
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