The digital photography market continues to grow, embracing a widening array of formats and possibilities. At one time, all we talked about still images, then video and then, still later, there was 3D. Now there’s talk about spherical and virtual-reality imaging.
With all of this emphasis on video, on streaming and on sharing, it’s sometimes easy to forget how important the still image is to the continued growth of the overall market. InfoTrends, which has covered the digital imaging market since the late 1990s, recently put together an interesting list of trends in digital photography, with some hints about where it may be going:
– InfoTrends’ research shows the number of images captured over an average three-month period in the United States has climbed from 110 in 2010 to 127 in 2015. This includes all types of cameras — digital cameras, smartphones, camera phones, and tablets — and all combinations of those cameras owned. With so many photo-capturing devices available today, you might have expected the increase would have been more dramatic, but the data suggest there is a limit to the number of photos that a person will take, regardless of how many devices they may own. If multiple cameras are owned, there is a substitution effect, rather than an additive one.
This is an interesting trend, which also describes the challenges photo retailers and labs have had in growing the output market. There are only so many birthdays, holidays, weddings, vacations, etc., happening, which puts a ceiling on the output opportunities for those segments. This is why it’s important to branch out into new markets like home decor, packaging, and signage.
– InfoTrends estimates the number of photos the average person in the U.S. and Europe will take in their lifetime (from the time they are 13 to 81 years old) is between 25,000 and 30,000 images. Of course, this amazing volume of images provides a great opportunity, but it is also a challenge for consumers to manage such a quantity of images. Certainly, some images are just for laughs, and won’t be kept or remembered beyond a Snapchat post. Other images, however, will grow in emotional over time, which is why cloud-based image storage, retrieval and organization systems are going to be key to monetizing those images over time.
– InfoTrends estimates more than 1 trillion photos were captured worldwide in 2015 and forecasts this number will grow 11 percent this year to over 1.1 trillion. To put that in perspective, in that one year, that is more than the prior 10 decades combined.
– InfoTrends estimates almost 47 billion photo prints (4 x 6-inch equivalent) will be produced worldwide in 2016. The top three reasons for printing photos are to display photos in the home, to give to others as gifts, and to put in photo albums. Again, as we indicated above, people are still printing photos, but they are finding new uses. It’s up to solution providers to make those opportunities to make photo products seamless and convenient.