6Sight would not be the camera industry conference, if there weren’t an extensive number of statistics to go with it. The manufacturer of cameras and printers, as well as the photographic dealers and retail chains and the supplier of photo gifts and photo books producers met in San Jose, California to share their experiences. For the three-day event experts arrived from different countries and companies like InfoTrends, Lyra and the industry association PMA with their latest statistics.
Everybody is aware that the photo industry has been hit hard right now – the switch from analogue film to digital products has had many effects. Companies like Qualex in the U.S. or the Kodak laboratories in Germany did not survive the change. Others, such as Fuji in the U.S. and Europe had to massively reduce laboratory capacity. In other markets, such as in New Zealand the labs that supplied earlier trade customers even begun to address the everyday consumer.
Analog vs. Digital
Still in 2001 5.25 billion analog image prints in Germany were produced based on the GfK surveys. Last year only 670 million analog image prints are expected compared to 950 million in 2008. It is safe to say that analog film is threatened in the near future with the same fate as the analog record.
The digitization is just one development. The Internet, the printing technology, the digital camera – all developments cave in relatively simultaneously onto the industry. No other one, maybe apart from journalism, had to deal with so many developments at the same time.
The top of the screen prints of all types throughout production was reached in 2004 with 5.7 billion in Germany. Since then, this has steadily decreased, and has remained stable since 2007 at 4.8 billion. The way how things are produced is still changing steadily. In 2009, production were distributed to 570 million which will be printed at home, 970 million that are produced in minilabs and in 2009 were 2.58 billion digital photo printing and photo books produced in laboratories.
When you compared this to other European countries then you will see a similar picture. Especially home printing and printing on your own printer is becoming less and less important. It occurs stronger in England and Germany than for example in Belgium or the Netherlands, so only between 2009 and 2010 is a domestic decline between 9% and 28% expected.
Invasion of the Pictures
The number taken pictures by consumers has soared from about 130 billion in 2003, to more than 200 billion in 2009, and Photo-News.COM estimates a rise to 280 billion in 2012.
On the other side professional photography it is declining. In 2005 it was around 13 million pictures, so it will be just 9 million in 2009 and it is expected to decrease in 2012 to 7 million. According to Frank Baillargeon, InfoTrends, 97% of professional photographers in the U.S. print their own pictures. Annual sales of commercially produced photographic products has maintained its downward trend and fell by 13%, from $ 4,347 in 2009 to $ 3,768 in 2010. In the same period decreased the printing at home by 37%, from $ 2,163 to $ 1,353.