Digital Disruption in the Photo Apps & Sharing Market

Photo Apps Market Analysis and Commentary




04 May 2016 - The consumer photo printing market is changing before our eyes. In the last couple of years the traditional digital and film print market has seen, a yearly, double digit decline. In 2015, the consumer photo print market in Western Europe fell, in value terms, by 4.7%. Conversely, today we see it stabilise through digital disruption, in the positive sense.

In 2015, the merchandise and photobooks market demonstrated 12.5% growth, as photo businesses react by creating new app building departments. This is to support consumer demand and favourable market conditions, driven by increased portable device adoption, photo sharing, social media and the consumers' desire to create more from their digital memories.

Photo printing apps and the app market in general is seeing substantial growth, according to the latest consumer research 'The Impact of Apps on Photo Printing' by Futuresource Consulting. The number of photo app downloads corresponds with the increasing number of mobile device owners. Futuresource Consulting predict that in 2016, 83% of the Western European population will have a smartphone with access to the Internet, increasing to 89% by 2020.

"The number of images captured and stored on mobile devices is growing exponentially and better camera resolution is providing consumers with more images worth printing," commented Polina Vorms, Research Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. There is a whole generation of consumers who are finding physical prints unexplored fun. If only 1% of these unprinted digital memories were converted into a physical print, then the photo prints market could double in size in one year."

This latest photo printing apps report, covers the French, German and UK markets and complements the recently released 'Consumer Photo Sharing Report' which captures qualitative and quantitative data on photo printing behaviour, including image sharing, device usage and photo product purchases amongst different age groups: Millennials (18-34), Matures (35-54) and Seniors (55+). This consumer research covers three key European Markets: France, Germany and UK as well as USA Market.

To further highlight the opportunity in this market place it is interesting to reflect on the previous research where Futuresource Consulting predicted that the frequency of device usage for image capture and the number of digital photos taken was set to grow significantly. Predicting that the number of images captured daily in Western Europe is set to be 55 million for digital cameras and 638 million for Smartphones by the end of 2016. This report continues to provide an insight on the preferred methods of dealing with digital images and how consumers' preferences have changed since 2014.

The significant rise of social media over the course of the past five years is a significant development and it is crucial to understand what happens to digital images – how people share them and the most popular methods and platforms used. Popularity of e-mail as a platform for sharing digital images has dropped significantly, perhaps resulting from an expanded variety of other channels for sharing photos with friends and family. Facebook (24.1%) continues to lead other sharing platforms by a considerable margin. The incidence of use of WhatsApp, in second place, grew 3.3% points to 9.1%, with Dropbox (6.8%) the third most frequently mentioned.

In terms of device usage, it is clear that by far the most frequently used device to capture photos is a smartphone. Its popularity has grown by 9% points since our last survey. As previously mentioned, Smartphone cameras are constantly improving in terms of lens and resolution, as are the weight and battery life of smartphones themselves, making them far more suitable as substitutes for fixed lens cameras.

Finally, in terms of photo product purchases, millennials remain the most common buyer of photo products and are more willing to make a purchase in the future. The latest edition of the Futuresource photo sharing report indicates that photo prints are by far the most popular product, with consumers showing more interest in purchasing them in the future. For example, 50% of UK respondents are interested in photo prints compared to 29% interested in photobooks.

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Notes
Futuresource Consulting is a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company, providing organisations with insight into consumer electronics, digital imaging, entertainment media, broadcast, storage media, education technology and IT. With a heritage stretching back to the 1980s, the company delivers in-depth analysis and forecasts on a global scale, advising on strategic positioning, market trends, competitive forces and technological developments. www.futuresource-consulting.com

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Futuresource Media Contact for industry comment, forecasting and trends:

Nicola Finn

e: nicola.finn@futuresource-hq.com