Weymouth, MA—While usage rates of social networking sites increased considerably between 2010 and 2011, behaviors began to stabilize in 2012, according to a recent InfoTrends study. This suggests a market that is becoming more mainstream.
InfoTrends’ 2012 U.S. Social Network and Photo/Video Sharing Survey indicates, however, that individuals of all ages are increasingly relying on social networking sites to stay in touch with friends and family, and that photo and video sharing make up important parts of their activities at these sites.
Also, the InfoTrends study revealed that consumers are accessing an increasing number of social networking sites than in the past. “Sites like Pinterest and Instagram, despite being in existence for only a couple of years, have enjoyed a significant increase in year-over-year popularity,” notes the research firm. And, the growing popularity of these sites has not affected use of top sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
InfoTrends analysts found that not only are users accessing more sites on a regular basis, they are more often using mobile devices to do so. Social network users upload photos to social networks using mobile phones or smartphones 22% of the time, up from 16% in 2011.
Of importance to photo specialty retailers and finishers, as a result of these findings, InfoTrends is recommending that operators of social networking and photo-sharing sites offer more options for users to create photo prints and photo merchandise on these sites.
“Our research indicates a significant opportunity for the sale of output products incorporating photos that have been shared on social networking sites,” said Alan Bullock, associate director of InfoTrends’ Connected Imaging Trends Service. “The number of available options is increasing, but most are from outside services that pull images from social networks instead of allowing the consumer to begin the process from the social network itself.”
Vendors should explore options to streamline the process and make the ordering of prints and other custom photo products a more integrated part of the viewing and sharing process, Bullock added.
InfoTrends’ 2012 U.S. Social Network and Photo/Video Sharing Survey evaluates how regular users of social networking sites differ from nonusers, explores how consumers are leveraging social networks, and discusses the general photography activities that are being performed in these sites.
Operators of social networking and photo-sharing sites, as well as vendors offering products and services to users of those sites, can use insights in the report to better prepare themselves for consumers’ evolving expectations.
The report is available immediately for purchase at InfoTrends’ online store. infotrends.com