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The Photographic Digital Edge - A Land of Opportunity for Interoperability

Print & Imaging Market Research, Analysis and Commentary

Consumer behaviour continues to evolve across the photographic imaging market. There is a kaleidoscopic landscape of opportunity for both the established players, as well as newer brands, serving the mass market consumer, the enthusiasts and the digital native segments. We know that the ubiquitous smartphone is the king of image capture, but what are the most prevalent consumer behaviours whilst they are editing, storing and sharing their memories?

Futuresource unveils its view on the consumer adoption, perceptions and behaviours in this new consumer study - Understanding the Evolution of Consumer Behaviour in the Imaging Market. The work, a follow-up to the 2017 Futuresource study, was conducted online in Q1 2019 and comprised of more than 5,000 interviews with consumers in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. Topics explored included frequency of photo activity and methods used, device ownership and platforms used, as well as attitudes towards photography and purchase behaviours.

Picture Perfect – Photo Editing on the Rise

70% of respondents had edited photos over the previous 12 months, editing on average 40 photos per month, an increase when compared with the 2017 study. Respondents aged under 36 were significantly more likely to have edited their photos than older age groups and were more likely to use mobile phones as their preferred editing device.

“Smartphone apps provide a quick and comprehensive way to edit,” says Ruben Baveld, Research Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “With pre-sets, red-eye removal, selfie filters, auto-editing and speedy posting to social media sites, they are the weapon of choice for younger generations. However, those aged 36-65 were more inclined to use a laptop computer. Adobe Photoshop clearly owned the desktop computer domain.”

More People Printing Photos

According to Futuresource, it is good news for an already buoyant online print industry, with 37% of respondents printing in the past 12 months, saying online was their preferred way of accessing third-party printing services. Of the four countries in this research, consumers in France were the most likely to print at home, whereas consumers in Spain were the most likely to use a third-party. Overall, the under 36 age group, who printed the most in the study, were more likely to print with a third-party service together with the hobbyist and professional users.

“Instant print products were also most popular with respondents aged 35 and below,” adds Baveld. “The study revealed that the general desire to print in real time is alive and well with both Millennials and Gen Z, which is spilling over into the instant print category. The experiential aspects of this process, with the age-old whirl sound of the image capture, together with the slow wait for the image to reveal itself has truly captured the fluttering hearts of both the Millennials and Generation Z. “It’s exciting and aligns with the immediate gratification needs of the digital native generations. Our current research suggests that this is not a fad and is likely to stay,” comments Baveld.

Making Memories Tangible

One of the main motivations for taking photos and videos was to preserve interesting and unique memories. Since the 2017 research, Futuresource found that there has been a significant increase in the proportion of those printing both at home and using a third-party service. Furthermore, in the past 12 months, just under two-thirds of all respondents sought to take their photo memories out of the ‘digital dark age’ folders, a phrase coined by American Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, and have photos printed, either at home, using a third-party photo printing service, or both.

Going Social and Storage

In terms of sharing memories on social media, 73% of all respondents had shared photos in the past 12 months, with age categories clearly defining platform preferences. The younger respondents preferred Instagram, whereas the older generation went for Facebook. Social media was also seen as a way of storing photos, especially by the younger generations, however, the main purpose was to share photos over storing them. Laptop PCs and external hard drives were the most popular ways of storing photos, with just over a third storing photos using these devices.

Increasing Demand for Cloud Storage

In terms of cloud-based storage, Google Drive/Google Photos was the most popular cloud-based storage platform, being used by just over half (51%) of respondents using cloud storage platforms. Dropbox was the second most used and was especially popular in Germany and Spain. However, cloud storage platforms were used by just 17% of respondents to store photos. Those in the UK and Spain were twice as likely to use cloud storage than those in France, and half as likely in Germany.

Security concerns were a leading reason given by respondents who were not storing photos on the cloud, with almost half of these respondents citing this as an inhibitor. Uncertainty about how to use cloud storage and cost were the second and third most cited reasons. From an ‘older generations’ perspective it seems that there is a real opportunity to drive education about its benefits and how to use it, as this was ultimately cited as the main barrier for adoption. Of those who didn’t already use cloud storage, one-third responded saying they intended to start using a cloud storage platform in the next 2 years.

Date Published:

Jeremy Wills

About the author

Jeremy Wills

Jeremy joined Futuresource Consulting in 2001. He holds a degree in French from Kings College, University of London. Jeremy is a member of the Professional AV team. He focuses on Signal Distribution, Meeting Room Control, AV Managed Services, Interactive Displays, Professional Lighting and Esports.

In previous Futuresource roles, Jeremy was part of the Imaging team covering consumer camera and photo output markets and, prior to this, a member of the Home Entertainment team, tracking the global pre-recorded media manufacturing and storage media sectors. Jeremy has managed two research and analysis teams during his years with Futuresource, as well a wide variety of syndicated and custom research projects.

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