Alas, camera owners far out number photographers ...
Amen to that brother!! Hey if people are expressing themselves or capturing memories with smartphones all the power to them. For most it's about creating something that is meaningful to themselves and those close to them. It's a device not a religious icon. Serious hobbyists such as those that frequent APUG have always been in the minority of those creating photographs. Most people creating photographic images use what is fast and easy. The majors like Canon and Nikon have for the most part burned out many semi-serious hobbyists with their constant new camera releases. Most except the really stupid have learned they were duped by the manufacturers when they were sucked into the pixel wars. I feel that many photographers have decided the digi cam they have right now will be just fine for some time to come. Rather than feeling they need to upgrade bi-yearly or less due to the BS pixel war, they will go back to the upgrade cycle that was more or less the same as it was during the Nikon F days. The Canon and Nikon business plan can no longer support this shift. I can see them becoming boutique camera manufacturers like Leica in the very near future.
The point and shoots of the 1980's and 1990's shrank the market for high end SLR long before the smartphone came along. The smartphones have ruined things for everyone, as young folks cannot be bothered to carry a second device along...they've already integrated the GPS (ruining the market for separate GPS) they have integrated music playing, ruining the market for separate MP4 players which had ruined the market of CD players.
yes I so agree, that often makes me laugh, all the looks people love on Iphone apps, or other digital equivalents....they all imitate old analogue styles and historic processes. I tried to learn the real thing, and when you do, you know digital is way easier, but the real thing is even more beautiful.
Is it really smart phones taking over, or is it the "me too" people, who bought into expensive DSLR systems (where's in the past they would have been happy with a P&S) finally realising that owning such a camera does not automatically mean better pictures.
I have said it before, high end photo gear is the tech hobby of the noughties (just like camcorders were in the late 80's and 90's). Go to any event and note how many white lenses are hanging off the end of a camera. Then think back 20 years and compare.
The noughties are over and they are all moving onto the next "big thing".
Good cameras will always be status symbols, just the types preferred and the social signals they send will change over time. Phones are wiping out the P&S market (just like digi-P&Ses wiped out 35mm film for casual happy-snaps) but I don't believe they'll make much dent in the DSLR market because they serve such very different purposes at different quality levels.
The big Japanese DSLR manufacturers had major (and, I think, ahistorical) boomtime in the 2000's when DSLRs became affordable so a whole bunch of people entered the market that previously couldn't afford to. People like me (16-25 years olds with little income) who were not previously able to afford to do serious photography suddenly could for about $1000. Now everyone who wants a DSLR has got one or can buy-in secondhand for under $500, so sales are levelling off and maybe falling soon; it's got nothing to do (IMHO) with phones but rather the market is just saturated. What do you expect to happen when there are more cameras than people who (think they) care about photography?
Despite the APUG trolls banging on about digital being disposable, plenty of people buy a DSLR and use it for a decade or more. Most decent DSLRs should run happily for 20 years unless abused, especially for the typical/casual 2000 actuations/year user. Hell, I shoot a fair bit and my DSLR is 6 years old; my mother's is 7 and there's no way she'll buy a new one until it breaks. Probably I'll just give her mine in a couple of years and it'll go forever. Just like my RZ is about 25 years old and I'll probably still be using the same body in another 20 years unless I drop it.
You also have to remember that many of the higher end DSLR and at least one "higher end" mirrorless camera had sales boosts thanks to people buying for video. The Canon 5d mark2/3, the 7d and the Panasonic GH1/GH2 were purchased in very large numbers buy guys wanting the larger sensors for video. That market has mostly moved on to the BlackMagic Designs Cinema cameras and to a lesser degree the Red Scarlet. That is bound to hurt Canon and Panasonic still camera sales. Combine that loss at the top the movement from DSLR to cameras like the Fuji X series and Olympus Micro4/3 cameras and I can easily see a significant hit.
Also the "megapixel war" seems to be over, at least in the mind of the public. Most people are happy enough with 10 or 12 megapixel and don't have any desire to shoot in RAW. When cameras like the D3200 with, IIRC 24MP, come out and they don't see a big jump in quality when they post on facebook or instagram why would they ever feel like they need to upgrade?