New Opportunities for Imaging Abroad

New Opportunities for Imaging Abroad


As the developed regions of the world, like the United States and Western Europe, experience a maturing of the digital camera and photo printing markets, new sales opportunities will come from emerging markets, most of which are in early stages of market development. Among these emerging markets are Brazil, Russia, India and China, also known as the BRIC countries. These countries are ripe for growth in digital photography and have common traits that will appeal to digital imaging vendors.

Low-household-penetration rates for digital cameras and large populations are a good combination for increased camera sales to first-time buyers; however, growth rates may be hindered to some degree by low penetration of personal computers and home Internet access, as well as low household incomes in these countries. Nevertheless, growth in these adjacent markets will help fuel the digital photography market.

InfoTrends recently surveyed consumers in Brazil, Russia, India and China and uncovered some very interesting findings. In these markets, both digital cameras and mobile phones with cameras (smartphones) are actively being used to take photographs. Russians and Indians appear to rely on their mobile phones more than their Chinese or Brazilian counterparts. About one third of Russians and Indians use their mobile phones most often for taking pictures. Everyone is photo active with their digital cameras as well as their mobile phones.

When digital cameras are new to a market, consumers tend to take lots of photos. In countries like the U.S., we saw picture taking go through a honeymoon period where the number of photos taken increased each year as people were learning how to use the technology and were excited about taking photos. The honeymoon period is over in the U.S. and the number of photos taken each year has declined in the last few years, and now the figure appears to be settling into a steady-state number as consumers' picture-taking habits become more established. The BRIC countries, however, are still early in their courtship phase, and photographers take considerably more photos (up to 2. 5 times) than their U.S. counterparts. More photos captured means more opportunities to monetize them; either through sharing, storage, printing or the creation of personalized photo products.

While print volumes in the U.S. are experiencing a decline, printing is still part of the vocabulary in BRIC countries—at least for now. Consumers in Brazil, Russia, India and China print their photos and in much higher volumes than U.S. consumers. In some cases, over one-third of photos printed originate from a mobile phone. With the exception of Brazil, retail stores are the most common locations for printing, followed by the home.

As consumers' printing habits have shifted toward electronic sharing and viewing over the years, the number of photos printed has dropped off in the U.S. Imaging vendors and retailers in these emerging countries must promote printing as a routine part of the total photo experience, and ensure that consumers entering the digital photo market do not default exclusively to electronic viewing and sharing.

Capture and print are two vital components to the imaging ecosystems in all markets. A strong focus on these areas will result in revenue growth. The other components of the ecosystem, such as viewing, sharing and preserving, are in place and will grow in importance as adjacent technologies and services like personal computers, broadband Internet access, high-definition televisions, and online photo services and social networks become more pervasive. So, while the BRIC countries are still in their formative years, imaging vendors need to develop the strategies and plans that will help them establish a strong position in each market.

Ed Lee is the Group Director of InfoTrends' Worldwide Consumer and Professional Imaging Services. This research was obtained through a recent multi-client study from InfoTrends. For more information visit gmarkets.html or contact Matt O'Keefe at (781) 616-2100, ext. 115, or