Social Photo & Video—The New Communication and Memory-Keeping Paradigm: InfoTrends

Social Photo & Video—The New Communication and Memory-Keeping Paradigm: InfoTrends


Weymouth, MA—While considerable data is available on consumers’ photo and video behaviors, such as the kinds of cameras they use; the number of pictures they take; the amount of video they shoot; how, where and with whom they share; and how, where and how much they print, InfoTrends launched a study to discover the motivations for those behaviors and what influences consumers’ daily photo activities.

The research firm announced the completion of Social Photo and Video: The New Communication and Memory-Keeping Paradigm, which honed in on the photo and video behaviors of consumers who own multiple devices that can take pictures and shoot video. The study illustrates the reasons why consumers make particular choices (conscious and unconscious) every time they use any of those capture devices to communicate, share moments or preserve memories.

The choices span the spectrum of the imaging ecosystem, including capture, viewing, sharing, storage, creative projects and output. And according to InfoTrends, “Their preferences may be well established or could change frequently, depending on occasion, location or even mood. They are influenced by a variety of factors (some technical and others decidedly not) that include image quality, convenience, spontaneity, social setting, connectivity, privacy concerns and more.”

InfoTrends notes that vendors and service providers can still influence consumers and their imaging choices by developing the products and services that will help satisfy consumers’ unmet needs related to photo and video expression. “In fact, they must do so in order to remain relevant in both the digital and print worlds,” the report reads.

The study revealed that consumers are primarily motivated by convenience and ease of use in all stages of their photo and video activity. Many no longer use a digital camera at all; but for those who have them, they are the camera of choice for important events and occasions as well as for artistic and creative photography. Even so, most feel that carrying and using their digital camera requires some advanced planning, while their smartphones are easier to use and are with them virtually all of the time. Most still believe that digital cameras take better photos, but for everyday snapshots they are willing to trade quality for convenience.

Not a surprise, InfoTrends found that, regardless of the capture devices people owned (smartphone, point-and-shoot camera, interchangeable-lens camera or tablet), “smartphones are the overall camera of choice for shooting photos and videos of everyday situations (snapshots, pictures of friends, pets and animals).” The research firm believes this behavior will likely only strengthen over time. And, as expected, far more smartphone photos than digital camera photos are shared—and wireless connectivity is the big reason why. InfoTrends believes that “even as manufacturers add built-in Wi-Fi to more digital camera models, the digital camera sharing workflow needs to be streamlined to encourage more sharing.”

Digital cameras have the advantage for printing. In fact, many consumers operate on the premise that smartphone photos are for sharing and digital camera photos are for printing. Despite the growth in photo printing apps, nearly one-third of smartphone users said that getting their photos out of their phone for printing was a challenge. The research firm advises that better education and promotion of mobile printing should help overcome that hurdle.

Of importance to print providers, in a web survey of nearly 2,000 respondents, InfoTrends asked what makes a photo worth sharing or printing. Study results showed that most respondents were likely to determine the “share-worthiness” of a photo or video by the subject matter or the occasion at which it was captured. While this was true across all age groups, subject was an even higher criterion for those ages 55 and above. Younger respondents were more likely to want to express their creativity by sharing photos that showed off their photography skills or to which they had applied fun filters.

Social Photo and Video: The New Communication and Memory-Keeping Paradigm is based on extensive primary consumer research. InfoTrends leveraged its in-house imaging research where possible and built on existing insights. The research for this study includes consumer intercepts, a structured web-based survey and a consumer diary study.