Per an update notification issued in September, an increase of at least 5% on all photographic film and paper products will be passed from HARMAN Technology, producers of ILFORD, Kentmere and HARMAN products to the dealer/distributor chain effective October 16th 2020.
Today’s increase is the second for 2020 and follows an (upto) 15% hike on May 11th. Unlike this year’s first price rises, this most recent adjustment does not affect film development chemistry, cameras and other non-film or paper products.
I contacted Harman a few weeks ago for comment on the price increases and the company’s reasons for issuing them now, only 5 months after the last rise. From Harman:
We have had to implement a global price rise on our films and papers effective October 16th. This is due to significant increases in our costs that have resulted from the pandemic, over and above any normal operating cost increases, hence the unfortunate and unprecedented need for a 2nd increase in a calendar year. The most significant of these increases are from our sourced raw materials which we need to make the products which are outside of our control.
As always we have tried to absorb as much of these cost increases as possible, however, reluctantly we now have no choice but to pass a proportion of them on to our distributors and ultimately the end users of our products.
Increasing prices and subsequently the cost of consumption is not something a film manufacturer like HARMAN does lightly, especially given 2020’s economic uncertainties and the number of young, and budget-conscious new entrants into film photography.
I know the team, based in Mobberly, Cheshire, would have explored all avenues available to them before passing any price increase on to customers and while it’s always disappointing to see higher than inflation price increases, I prefer the idea of HARMAN and by extension the ILFORD and Kentmere brands, as an extant part of our global community, rather than yet another shuttered brand to remember fondly.
In terms of the real-word effect of these increases, photographic film stockists (onlne and traditional brick and mortar stores) I have spoken to seem to be divided about their response. Some have stated to me confidentially that they will absorb the increase and not pass it on to consumers. Sady, at least two online retailers I am familiar with have taken the opportunity to increase prices above the percentage rise passed on by HARMAN.
Finally, thanks to the folks at Harman for their transparency and willingness to talk to me about this. It’s always a pleasure working with you.