Millennials and the Camera: Research Into Preferred Imaging Devices & Behaviors

Millennials and the Camera: Research Into Preferred Imaging Devices & Behaviors

© 2018 Futuresource Consulting Ltd.

What imaging trends could we be seeing from millennials? Ruben Baveld, research analyst at Futuresource Consulting, reveals the results of a 122-page Futuresource consumer research report. Based on interviews with 1,250 consumers across the U.S., the report explores the preferred imaging devices and behaviors of millennials.

“Over the course of the last 10 years, we’ve seen rapid technological and behavioral changes play out across the imaging landscape,” says Baveld. “From the rise of the smartphone to social media sharing, geotags, cloud storage and beyond, the motivations and needs of consumers are evolving.”

Millennials, those aged between 16 and 35, have been at the center of this change. As the first generation to grow up with computers in their homes, they are digital natives, born into a world of digital systems rather than needing to adapt to them as adults.

Smartphones Lead, Don’t Eclipse Other Imaging Devices

When Futuresource looked at the photo capturing, storing and printing habits of U.S. millennials, it came as no surprise that, according to the study, 92% own a smartphone. In addition, more than 88% used it to take photos in the last 12 months.

However, the study reveals that millennials have a strong interest in photography beyond the smartphone lens. They, in fact, own other imaging devices. Nearly 40% of millennials interviewed owned a fixed lens camera, 38% own a DSLR and nearly one in four owned a mirrorless camera.Futuresource-Logo

What’s more, they were the most likely age group to own one of these types of cameras, displaying far more practical engagement with photography than any other generation.

“For millennials, it’s not just about camera ownership. They are using their cameras to take pictures on a far more regular basis than other age groups,” notes Baveld. “Respondents across all age groups told us they captured an average of 94 photos per month over the previous year. When we drilled down into millennials, we found they were taking an average of 127 photos per month. This figure tapered off to under 60 photos per month for the 46-to-55 and 56-and-over age groups.”

Photo Printing Still Relevant

Moreover, despite general impressions that younger consumers are less interested in preserving memories by printing photos, findings from the Futuresource research study paint a different picture.

In fact, millennials were the most likely age group to be printing their photos. More than 60% were either printing at home or using third-party printing services. These findings cast doubt on the theory that younger generations are not interested in engaging with physical photographs.

© 2018 Futuresource Consulting Ltd.

In addition, nearly two in every three of the photos printed through a third-party service were stored on a smartphone. And around 40% were on a USB drive or memory card.

What They’re Shooting

In terms of subject matter, over the 12 months preceding the report, millennials had mainly been taking photos of their children, regardless of whether they were using a smartphone, a DSLR or mirrorless camera. This was followed by photos of partners and younger millennials mainly taking photos of friends, for both cameras. In the fourth position for the smartphone was selfies. For the DSLR, landscapes and architecture tied with photos of friends.

Furthermore, over 50% of U.S. respondents had increased their incidence of photo capture over the 12 months preceding the report. Moreover, only around 10% noted a decrease.

Focusing on millennials, around 60% had increased their photo capture, again leading the pack. The figures fall throughout the age categories to around just a quarter of the 56-and-over age group.

For more information about the Futuresource imaging reports, visit