Both Kodak and Fujifilm have made hefty increases to their prices for photographic film in 2020, with Kodak Alaris increasing the entire film range by an average of over 20 percent from January 1 this year and Fujifilm recently announcing an even larger hike for both film and, more importantly for the industry as a whole, Fujifilm colour paper.
The minimum increase for all Fujifilm film, including colour neg film, slide film, Quick Snap disposable cameras and control strips for photo printers is an eye-watering 30 percent.
The Fujifilm announcement is less specific on the increases for the various permutations of Fujifilm Crystal Archive paper: ‘The minimum increase is a double-digit percentage,’ according to the global announcement, dated February 25.
The announcement, which is pretty well a cut-and-paste from previous price rises, stated: ‘Fujifilm…is announcing that it will implement a worldwide price revision for its photographic films and photographic papers. Fujifilm has always provided the highest quality products to the global market. Over the past several years, Fujifilm has faced the rising cost of raw materials and logistics. In the past Fujifilm has absorbed some of the costs by undertaking intensive structural reforms and communalization of production facilities, but as a responsible manufacturing company and to provide the high-quality products our customers expect, the company will institute a price increase.’
The colour paper price hike will be a body blow to Fuji-supporting photo printers who still use AgX technology, especially as they are trying to compete against
10 cent 5 cent prints from Fujifilm’s main retail partner, Harvey Norman.
Kodak Alaris took a different tack to justify its increases, basically claiming the success of the film business is the fundamental cause, and anyway it’s all the supplier’s (Eastman Kodak’s) fault.
Price rises in Australia are similar to Europe and the US, with Portra reportedly up 45 percent locally, and ‘nothing under double digits’, according to a local photo retailer.
In its statement, Kodak Alaris states that its film manufacturer, Eastman Kodak, is at full capacity and taking market share from Fujifilm, and the price rises will pay for the cost of expanding production. (It’s a doozy):
From Kodak Alaris – 2020 Film Price Increase:
2019 has been exceptional year for film, Kodak Alaris has seen increasing demand for film with new interest in traditional photography growing and a decline in the volume of film our key competitor [Fujifilm] has released to the market.
Our market share has grown and levels of positivity towards shooting film not seen for many years has returned. These changes have also come with some problems, in recent years film supply has only just kept pace with market demand during the peak season but this year the increased demand has resulted in the highest level of Kodak Alaris film sales for some years leading to supply issues for most of our film lines. We have had to prioritise production of the most important film types, for example Professional film which is critical to many Professional Photographers.
Overall we have seen the level of customer back-orders increase to an unprecedented level, we understand this creates a difficult issue for our customers and end users but film production has been limited by a finite supply of one of the key components used to produce film.
Kodak Alaris’s film supply comes from a single dedicated supplier [Eastman Kodak], we are beholden to this supplier for all the film we sell across the world. Our supplier has recognised the increased demand for film and started to initiate plans to increase their volume capacity. A large ongoing financial investment has been made to increase production capacity but unfortunately the benefits of this investment will not be realised until much later in 2020, with some additional benefits being delivered in 2021.
As the level of customer orders has increased every step has been taken to supply film as promptly as possible to our customers, with nearly all film and the components needed to produce film being air shipped around the world. These actions have come with a fiscal cost and despite our and our suppliers best efforts we have not been able to keep up with demand resulting in the extraordinary level of customer back orders we now have.
Partly due to the investment cost related to increasing film capacity and other increases in operational costs our film supplier has passed on a significant price increase to us for all film products. This price increase is far bigger than Kodak Alaris can absorb and we are forced to announce a price increase will be made all of our customers across the world from the 1st January 2020.
Kodak Alaris’s Management Team have agreed to absorb some of the price increase but we cannot absorb all of the price increase, therefore a significant increase will still be passed on to all our customers.