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Photo product pipeline still pumping – for now

With Australia’s two biggest markets having been in lockdown for much of this year, what seem to be inevitable and imminent supply shortages have yet to manifest themselves in a lack of stock on local shelves, despite plaguing major overseas retailers.

Covid has done a number on the supply chain.

This could provide Australian camera buyers with a more extensive range than their overseas counterparts in the lead-up to Christmas.

There have been numerous recent reports in the general business press highlighting continued international supply chain issues, including the United States Postal Service suspending postage to Australia due to a lack of air freight. This is a topic Inside Imaging has covered several times, with the last time was in July, 2021 after numerous new release cameras were unavailable across the world. The Nikon Z fc, for instance, was out of stock days after it was announced due to so-called ‘unforeseen demand’. It’s the same story with the EOS R3 and a long list of new lenses.

Plenty of sincere apologies trying to make up for a lack of product.

The issue may partly stem from component shortages, such as semiconductors, combined with a shortage of air freight and shipping container shortages.

As with plenty of the Covid-related problems from the last two years, it doesn’t seem overseas camera shortages issues have disappeared, and interestingly, they seem to be hitting the big online operators worse. The likes of B&H and Adorama in the US, or the United Kingdom’s Park Photos are hitting Peak Back-Order!

We looked at the 10 cameras from DPReview‘s ‘Most Popular Interchangeable’ camera list, which is based on what reviews and previews are most viewed in the last five days. The list casts a wide net across different brands and price ranges, although Fujifilm may be slightly over-represented with three cameras in the list. To ensure the consistency of the list, we monitored list changes over a week and there were no changes.

Inside Imaging surveyed these major retailers and found at least half of the popular interchangeable lens cameras were unavailable from them.

Yet when we did the same cross-check with stock in Australia’s DigiDirect and Digital Camera Warehouse, just one of the DPReview most popular cameras, the Sony A7S III, isn’t available. Next month? Who knows.

 

DPReview’s 10 most popular cameras.

DPReview‘s ‘Most Popular Overall Interchangeable Lens Camera List’ consists of the Sony A7C and A7S III, Fujifilm X-T4, XT-3 and X-S10, the Canon EOS R6, R5, and M50, the Nikon Z6 II, and Panasonic GH6.

Adorama only had three  of these cameras in stock while B&H and Park Cameras had five. Here is the breakdown of the availability, split between being out of stock, on ‘backorder’, and ‘available’ to order:

It’s unusual for the big international online retailers to have so many popular cameras on backorder at the same time.

It’s highly unusual for three major retailers, servicing huge markets – North America, Europe and other overseas markets – to have so many in-demand camera products out of stock. Perhaps their high volume/low margin/low cost retail models don’t maximise profit for the camera and lens distributors when demand is outstripping supply, as it seems to be.

‘I have one industry executive (in the US) saying they are intentionally feeding more to photo specialty store because their margin is greater than dealing with box stores,’ a US photo industry insider told Inside Imaging. ‘Another is saying they don’t have the product and are treating everyone “equally”, but is unable to define what metrics they are using for allocation.’

In our related report, two top Australian photo retail industry figures noted consumer demand has increased in the local market. One attributed this to consumers having more expendable income due to lockdowns preserving spending marked for holidays, while the other concluded the lift in sales is partly due to states, particularly NSW, re-opening.

 

 

 

 

 

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