Fresh from another exciting Dscoop conference in Washington, D.C., the Mediaclip team is busy reviewing all the feedback on our photo solutions. It’s always exciting to meet with customers and partners at such a well-run event. Dscoop is filled with great networking and education opportunities.
Among the Dscoop sessions worth mentioning was “The State of the Photo Industry” session, which featured information from InfoTrends. Part of the take-away from the session was how photo merchandise is a worldwide growth opportunity, with nearly 3 percent unit growth through 2018. This is a good thing, because the rapid decline in photo prints we’ve all seen for many years will continue. (In the United States, the photo print market will still be a substantial 11.3 billion units by 2018.) Overall, the revenue opportunity for prints and merchandise worldwide will be flat, since the decline in prints will be offset by the growth of photo merchandise.
Here in North America, we’re seeing more and more mass adoption of photo merchandise products. Photo cards and photo books account for the majority of the volume in the U.S., with canvas prints growing at 8 percent a year, as well. And with nearly a trillion photos expected to be taken this year, there’s no end to the amount of images to be printed.
Of course, not all those pictures are worth printing, but the important thing is getting as many of those pictures printed as possible. This is a marketing challenge the industry must face.
The key is to look at lifestyle marketing opportunities. For example, home decor is a $22 billion industry and many would not consider it part of the “photo industry.” Yet, digital technology has made it easy to put your best photos on high-quality canvas and metal. And, as we noted earlier, this market is growing 8 percent a year.
The challenge with any marketing endeavour is to know your customers. For photo, Baby Boomers and Millennials behave very differently. Boomers are memory-driven, while Millennials are moment-driven. Millennials will print their pictures, but for different reasons than Boomers. Millennials want to express themselves and have fun, not leave a legacy. So photo books and merchandise aimed at Millennials should be easy, fun and interactive. Mobile apps are also key to attracting this new category. One of the advantages to Mediaclip’s HTML 5 Product Designer is it allows users to share projects, and the recipient can make their own copy and customize it. This kind of flexibility is creating a new paradigm for the photo merchandise business.