The photo market has changed dramatically in the last decade, and it continues to grow and evolve. Market research firm InfoTrends believes that these changes will affect the market for photo merchandise and personalized photo products this year and beyond. ECCE TERRAM – based on their client experiences and the Photo2lab Services is aware of some emerging patterns as well.
1. Mobile Strategy Becomes a Priority
There’s no doubt that tablets and smartphones have surged in popularity, and InfoTrends believes this trend will only continue. Smartphone users will account for 70% of mobile phone users in 2013, up from 2012’s numbers of 61%. Camera resolution and features on these phones keep getting better and better, and since smartphones are always connected to the cloud, users have the ability to order prints and photo merchandise while on the go. Photo vendors are coming to understand this and are capitalizing on this trend.
This has a significant impact on consumer behaviors when they want to order photo products. In the last 20 years, many new order channels have been adopted by consumers in the photo industry, it appears that Mobile is coming in to it’s own. During the 2011 Holiday Season, based on data from the Photo2lab Development Framework generally saw that 2% of total orders were from native Mobile Apps (iOS and Android). In April of 2012, this number increased to 6%, and in the most recent holiday season it was between 9% and 10%.
2. New Product Types and Designs
While the U.S. market is strong in photo merchandise, the InfoTrends paper “Road Map 2013: Photo Merchandise Trends 2013” suggest more developments to focus into the near future.
New designs and product innovations are expected to surge in 2013. The popularity of Instagram and Facebook is already being leveraged by Photo2lab`s Share-your-Photostory and others as they offer small format photo books suited for lower-resolution photos, the kind being shared on these types of services. Lay-flat photo books and albums are will allow for even more text and graphics customization. Other products can be offered via Facebook as well. Moo is promoting Facebook cards, which offers contact cards with the user’s Facebook photo and page address and Photo2lab`s Save-your-Memories to easily preserve uploaded images as image prints.
3. A Facebook Print Option?
With billions of photos stored on Facebook and so many users on the site, Facebook keeps looking to find new ways to generate revenue and keep users engaged with the site. Acquiring a print service or offering a print and output service through the site could being a new revenue and of interest to Facebook, and by extension have a ripple effect on the rest of the personalized photo products market. David Haueter, Associate Director at Infotrends mentioned: „If the service were easy to use and had products that were reasonably priced, we believe many users would give it a try. If it proved to be popular, this service could have a significant ripple effect on the rest of the market.“
Even if Facebook do not lauch a Print Service yet, other does. Winkiwoo from Australia or the Photo2lab App „Share your Photostory“ address the same needs of Facebook Users to order products in a very convenient way and already sold tenthousands of photobooks.
Even as these new trends emerge, vendors and retailers should look toward finding new and creative ways to make the photo products ordering experience more enjoyable for their clients.