Prints to Remain Popular in Digital Ecosystem: InfoTrends

Prints to Remain Popular in Digital Ecosystem: InfoTrends


Weymouth, MA—“Photo prints will remain a vital part of the growing digital photography ecosystem,” reports InfoTrends, based on its latest U.S. consumer photo prints forecast. While consumers are now embracing new ways to view, share and store their growing digital photo collections, the research firm asserts “photo prints remain one of the best ways to share and safely archive important digital photos that will one day be passed on to future generations.”

Despite the decrease in photo print volumes, InfoTrends reports billions of prints and billions of dollars in revenue are still being generated, and retail locations will continue as the most popular segment for fulfilling print orders through 2014—in fact, they will make up 65% of print volume by 2014. And, the most-used means of ordering those prints will be the net-to-retail dynamic, with prints ordered online for in-store pickup. The net-to-retail method is projected by InfoTrends to grow from 36% of the market in 2008 to 45% by 2014 (see chart).

The increasing popularity of ordering prints online parallels other consumer digital photography activities, such as electronically sharing and archiving images. But even with today’s technologies, InfoTrends believes “the traditional photo album is still the best way to preserve important family photos.” The company’s research indicates that photos stored on CDs/DVDs is the number one method consumers say they will use to preserve photos for future generations, but CDs/DVDs are known to degrade, hard drives can crash and photo-storage websites can go out of business, leaving consumers with no photo legacy to pass on. But the archival quality of hard copy prints, produced on high-quality paper with high-quality inks and put in an album, have been tested to last for nearly 100 years.

“It is a scary fact that a large percentage of consumers do not know that CD/DVDs have a limited shelf life and are also relying on vulnerable electronic methods for long-term archiving of digital photos,” said David Haueter, an associate director at InfoTrends. “Prints are the best way to ensure that important photos will be around to pass on to future generations in an easily viewable and accessible format. Vendors and retailers must focus on taking these messages to consumers to raise awareness and increase the stability of the print market.”

Based on U.S. Consumer Photo Prints Market Forecast: 2008–2014, InfoTrends believes that with the right market education in place, prints will continue to play a prominent role in the digital photography market and that more consumers will begin to understand the archival quality of photo prints.