Both the camera and the lens markets recovered significantly in the first half of 2021, reports third party lens maker Tamron. Companies sold a third more lenses than the previous year, and those lenses cost an average of 44 percent more. Both the camera and lens figures reflect the fact that the lower end of the market has been decimated, while the new cameras and lenses – mostly mirrorless – have moved further upmarket in both capabilities and price.
While the financial presentation Tamron put together for investors brags about new and future Fujifilm lens development, incorporating this market expansion in its revised forecasts, it makes no mention of lens development for Canon or Nikon, and makes no provision for this sort of business in the estimates for the second half of the year.
Tamron made as much profit in the first half of 2021 as it made in all of 2020. The firm expanded into the crop sensor portion of the mirrorless market (read Fuji). While its sales of lenses were up by about a third, its sales of Tamron-branded lenses were up 40 percent.
Tamron also makes a great number of lenses for other firms. Many camera manufacturers who do not have well fleshed-out lens design and manufacturing shops use Tamron’s white-labeled lenses, slapping their own branding on them. These OEM sales were up 60 percent, likely a product of additional product releases from Panasonic and Sony.
Tamron added $44 million of lens business for other manufacturers and increased its own Tamron-branded sales by $18 million.
Tamron did say that it did not expect straight-line increased results through the second half of the year, and one of the reasons cited was the industry-wide semiconductor shortage. That shortage is one of the reasons why the average camera and lens costs have gone up – less because of direct chip costs, and more because manufacturers are holding off releasing low-margin, low-end products in favor of pushing out higher-end models that have higher profit margins.
Tamron revised its 2021 sales estimates up to more than $500 million, with expected profit of about $50 million. For comparison, Nikon’s revenues during the same period are expected to be about $1,200 million.