Photo Industry Reporter’s State of the Industry 2011September 2011
It’s been quite a year.
As if a near double-dip recession isn’t enough to deal with, the year has brought us a horrific earthquake and flood in Japan, continued high unemployment, a brutal East Coast hurricane, and a nasty battle in Washington, DC, that is far from over
That’s because we thrive in an industry that sells smiles and memories, and despite our hardships and challenges, there is no shortage of those. The billions of images that are taken each year suggest that our market continues to grow, and our market is expanding well beyond the traditional young families who have always been our sweet spot. Teens, tweens and empty nesters are snapping away, and images can be found on cameras, smartphones, hard drives, memory cards and, soon, even clouds.
Our challenge in the coming months and years ahead is to adapt to the new realities of imaging. No longer is the camera the sole source of memories, and no longer is the album the only final destination of those images. Smartphones are becoming this millennium’s cameras of choice due to their portability and ease of sharing, and Facebook is quickly becoming this generation’s photo album. Printing and saving are being replaced by sending and sharing. And photo quality is being supplanted by photo quantity.
But all is not lost, and in fact there is much to gain. DSLRs and compact camera sales continue to thrive, because, in fact, they are better tools for our industry. The opportunity to offer customers a myriad of ways to print and save their photos is a profit story just waiting to happen. Just think if .01% of the 60 billion images already on Facebook were printed, there would be 60 million images to print. Our challenge as an industry is to convince customers that images need to be better, and a generation of images will be lost forever if they do not begin to change their habits and appreciate the importance of printing and saving.
What does this all mean? The State of the Industry is changing. Unlike past years, when only our technology would change, we now have to market to an entire population that is changing. And to be successful, we have to understand them and adapt to their world. Our continued success as an industry depends on our continued willingness to evolve with our customers. It’s not easy, but many of you are doing it already, and your results are inspiring the rest of us.