Sharing Is At the Heart of It All

Sharing Is At the Heart of It All

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Understanding how consumers share their images can help digital imaging business owners find new opportunities for creating revenue. CEA’s 2009 study, “Digital Imaging – A Focus on Sharing”, looks at how consumers take photos, how they share those images and their level of satisfaction with their sharing options.

People love their pictures. Digital cameras enjoy a 77 percent household penetration rate, and consumers now have many other devices such as cell phones and portable gaming devices capable of taking pictures as well. When asked how many pictures they took at the last event they attended, consumers reported snapping 72 shots on average.

The ability to share photos and videos is one of the main reasons consumers capture images in the first place. People want to share their memories with friends, families and sometimes even the general public of a social networking or photo sharing Web site. Sharing photographs is more common than sharing videos as about two in 10 consumers share their videos in contrast to more than half of consumers who share
photos. This could be due to lack of familiarity with video-sharing options.

E-mail is the top method consumers choose for sharing photos followed by displaying on a desktop or laptop computer, posting online and showing printed photos. Traditional print photographs remain a popular means for sharing images as more than eight in 10 adults report printing their photos either at home, at an in-store kiosk or via an online printer over the last year. Almost one in five consumers report they do not print photos demonstrating the popularity of online alternatives, but also making up a sizable swing group of consumers who might be influenced to print photos given the right value proposition.

Displaying videos on a desktop or laptop is the preferred method of sharing video for consumers. It is followed by e-mail, posting online and creating DVDs.

For consumers that post photos online, social networking sites are the most popular vehicles with MySpace (53 percent) leading the way and Facebook (38 percent) coming in second. Dedicated photo sharing sites such as Photobucket (22 percent), Kodak EasyShare Gallery (20 percent) and Snapfish (14 percent) are less popular.

Social networking sites also top consumers’ lists for video posting online with MySpace TV (48 percent) being the most frequently used, followed by YouTube (43 percent) and Facebook (42 percent). The three social networking sites enjoy strong usage among consumers ages 18 to 44. This wider age distribution among video sharers demonstrates a growing awareness of the ease and benefits of uploading videos for sharing, and should be considered when deciding on a target market for video products.

Consumers show higher levels of satisfaction with the available options for sharing photos than sharing videos. Almost two in three consumers (65 percent) are satisfied with their options for photo sharing, while less than four in 10 are satisfied with their video sharing options.
Consumers overwhelmingly disagree with the sentiment that sharing photos is difficult and time consuming; however, 25 percent are indifferent, meaning they neither agree nor disagree with that statement. This sizable group presents an opportunity as they may increase their photo sharing habits if a higher level of satisfaction can be found.

An even greater number of video sharers (33 percent) are indifferent as to whether or not their video-sharing needs are being met. Another one in three also reports they find it difficult to share video. Reaching out to this market with new options, or helping them better understand the available options, presents yet another opportunity.

In marketing your method for sharing photos and videos, it’s key to know what consumers think about when deciding which method they will use. The top features consumers consider when choosing a sharing site for photos include ease for friends and family to access images (56 percent), speed of uploading (52 percent) and cost (50 percent). In contrast, for video sharers cost is the top factor at 56 percent, followed by speed of uploading (52 percent) and ease of access (48 percent).

Consumers want their sharing site to be free, to allow upload of multiple images at once and to have an ability to edit images. Interest in tagging is increasing as 45 percent of digital photo takers, and 37 percent of digital video takers are interested in the technology. While consumers do want these sites to be free, they do not completely rule out paying a subscription fee. Consumers are willing to pay $5-8 per month to share their images on a premium site, and this could increase with a better understanding of the site’s features.

Opportunities exist for digital imaging businesses looking to provide methods for consumers to share their photos. Companies that understand what consumers are looking for will be able to come out on top and create innovative ways for consumers to share their memories.

Colleen Lerro is a Communications Specialist for the Consumer Electronics Association.

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