Developing The Digital Photo Market

With 45 percent of U.S. Internet households owning a digital camera, and another 24 percent expecting to buy before the end of 2004, imaging and output industries are reaping the digital benefits. However, while most consumers download and print their images, few are concerned with archiving and storage.

According to Photo Marketing Association International, “preserving memories” was cited as the #1 reason in 2002 for taking digital pictures – a shift from the top reason in previous years of sending pictures via email.

InfoTrends Research Group documents the trend of memory preservation with the statistic that 82 percent of digital camera users print their photos at home, and 81 percent of those who plan to purchase a digital camera in the future expect to print primarily at home.

Contrarily, 64 percent of female digital camera owners or women who are planning to purchase a digital camera believe that retail locations will become their preferred digital photo printing location, if it is priced competitively with film processing.

Michelle Slaughter, director of Digital Photography Trends at InfoTrends, discusses the problems associated with downloading picture images into home computers: “Digital camera users are accumulating large collections of digital photos, but few users are concerned about taking steps to archive their digital photos for the long term.”

Slaughter added that 78 percent of digital camera users are not proactively taking steps to manage and archive their digital photos for the long term. “Consumers are not concerned about archiving because most are not aware of how easily they could lose their digital photos to viruses, obsolete storage media, or hard drive crashes. Industry players need to offer solutions that help consumers preserve their digital photos for the long term.”

InfoTrends also found that 19 percent of U.S. Internet households have used an online photo service as of 2003, and the average number of photos posted per month nearly doubled to 24 photos. The average number of prints ordered online per month increased by more than 30 percent over 2002.

Jill Aldort, research analyst at InfoTrends, advises online imaging services to create revenue streams to offset the storage costs. “In 2002, some online photo service providers were able to increase print revenues and achieve profitability. All providers need to continue to develop strategies that increase print revenues to outpace the cost of hosting, and consider new ways to profit from photo sharing.”

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