Price Increases Coming

I was just dealing with this question with some site visitors who had emailed me (I'll get to that discussion, below), when the rumors—now verified—of a NikonUSA price increase on August 1st started to circulate. 

At least a dozen Z-mount lenses and accessories are getting a price increase here in the US. The most significant of those will be the f/2.8 zoom trio, each of which gets a US$100 increase. All the DX lenses get a US$10 to US$30 price increase. A few other lenses get US$10 to US$50 increases as well. 

Nikon claims that the increases are necessary due to cost increases in component parts and some logistics (basically shipping for those parts between plants and getting products to subsidiaries in a timely fashion). 

Europe and several other parts of the world had already seen price increases from Nikon, but the strength of the US dollar probably helped stall the need for them in North America. The irony, of course, is that many of the products showing price increases were just on an instant rebate program, which probably drove demand up, and then you need to build more and that costs more...

We're not done with price increases though. As I noted to several site readers contemplating various Z-system purchases, Nikon has up to this point tended to be the low-cost provider of equivalent mirrorless products, particularly with bodies. With the Canon R6 and Sony A7 Mark IV now sitting at the US$2500 price point, I expect any Z6 III that appears to move upwards in price, possibly all the way up to the US$2500 price of its direct competitors. That would also open up possibilities for other products between the current Z5/Z50 models and the Z6 III. For instance, a Z70 could slot in at Canon R7 pricing, or even a Zf could slot in at the old Z6 pricing. 

The good news is that the Z9 and recent high-end lenses haven't budged in pricing yet. Much of the pricing change is coming at the lower end and middle of the lineup, where the quantities being produced are putting some stress on the supply chain.

The question I'm now getting is this: "will this mean the end of instant rebates?" The answer is simple: no.

 Nikon closely micromanages sales volume, and has for most of the digital era. They have specific periods where they want to move boxes, and others where they're content to let volume be what it will be. Most of the instant rebate periods are preplanned. For instance, there's often a February lens rebate sale to pick up on holiday camera buying traffic and move inventory before the end of Nikon's fiscal year. How much the discounts are is the micromanagement task that Nikon has gotten so good at. You can readily see what it is they're trying to push and how hard. 

The 2022 discounting so far has been less widespread across products and relatively modest. I'm sure that's because it really wouldn't pay to be aggressive when you're having trouble sourcing parts at your expected costs. However, I'm pretty sure that we'll see Nikon—and all the other players—have holiday specials in the November/December time frame. So those f/2.8 zooms that went up US$100 in price might come right back down to their old price (or lower) come the end of the year. Certainly in next February's lens discounting.

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