Futuresource’s latest review of the Western European retail (on-site) photo printing landscape reveals some interesting changes and developments.
Whilst standalone wet and dry minilabs accounted for 47% of the 1.16 billion on-site photo prints in Western Europe in H1 2017, both instant print kiosks and ‘tabletop’ professional inkjet photo printers are continuing to penetrate the market.
Over 1,600 instant print kiosks were installed in Western Europe from January to June 2017, increasing the total number of active kiosks by 2% to over 84,000 units, producing 614 million photo prints over the same 6 month period.
These kiosks are increasingly being optimised to also offer photo gifts that can be fulfilled on-site, or off-site, maximising the potential revenue for the photo retailer.
One of the catalysts of instant print kiosk growth across Western Europe is demand from the Millennials, who have grown up in a digital era, but are now engaging with various forms of physical media, including photo prints. Photo retailers are witnessing a growing number of this demographic using in-store instant print kiosks to print 6x4"/10x15cm, square and instant style photo prints, often in low volumes. These consumers seem willing to pay high prices for photo prints and this is helping to drive what is, for some retailers, a rise in photo prints revenue.
In the January to June 2017 period, an additional 1,500 ‘tabletop’ professional inkjet photo printers were also sold in Western Europe, many of them into the retail photo printing channel.
Some of these printers were replacing existing printers on a 3-year cycle and some were additional printing capacity.
These printers offer a cost-effective solution to support an existing full-scale wet or dry minilab, can be installed as part of a modular dry minilab or instant print kiosk solution or as a standalone unit. They are versatile, offering a wide range of photo prints sizes, as well as photo cards, photo calendars and non-photo personalised stationery. Consequently, these printers are appealing to some retailers/retail chains that have not previously offered photo printing services.
In the first six months of 2017, the number of standalone wet and dry minilabs in use at retail across Western Europe fell by 5% to just over 8,800 units. With an average output of 410 photo prints per day over this period, minilabs are still on-site photo printing workhorses, but the tide will continue to turn towards the flexibility of the new solutions that are now available to the retail photo printing sector.