Los Altos, CA—Suite 48 Analytics, a leading research and analysis firm for the mobile photography market, released the findings of its latest study, Photo Output Product Survey Among Mobile Photographers, revealing that 55% of smartphone photographers now have experience with ordering photo output products and that they are an untapped major market for those products.
The new study, conducted among 1,641 North American mobile photographers, offers some optimistic news to photo retailers and photofinishers who have been grappling with the emergence of the smartphone as the primary photo-taking tool used largely for images destined only to be posted to social media or e-mailed. A key finding: of the respondents with photo-ordering experience, 79% included smartphone photos in their orders.
To some extent, the inclusion of smartphone photos in consumers’ photo product orders reflects the changing demographics of smartphone photographers, according to Hans Hartman, president of Suite 48 Analytics and principal author of the report. “We’re past the stage where smartphone photos are mostly taken by teenagers and young adults. Traditional photo product buyers, such as parents, are now using smartphones to capture ‘print-worthy’ moments that would have been missed without smartphones.”
The study also finds that photo products featuring smartphone photos are being purchased by newcomers to the photo product market: “25% of smartphone photographers who ordered photo products in the last 12 months containing their smartphone photos had never before ordered a photo product.”
In addition, the report examines how smartphone photographers create and order photo products. Currently, only a few use smartphone or tablet apps for this purpose; “most place orders on their computer by using a retailer’s website,” the study found, “after the consumer uploads their smartphone photos to the cloud or transfers them directly onto their computer.”
This is no surprise, according to Hartman, as most photo product apps haven’t been around for much more than one year. But consumers’ preference for using computers to order might stem from an emerging trend in which purchasers combine smartphone and digital camera photos into multi-photo output products, such as photo books, calendars or sets of photo prints, he explained.
“Assuming that smartphone photographers are even aware of photo output product apps at this point, they make pragmatic trade-offs between the immediacy and always-with-them advantages of smartphone apps versus the familiarity of larger screen alternatives on their computer. If they mix and match smartphone photos with digital camera photos, the computer has another important advantage: it is the place where large collections of high-res camera photos already reside.”
For photo product developers the opportunity lies in leveraging the advantages of both computer and smartphone app methods, said Hartman, for instance by incorporating seamless photo syncing and central cloud storage into their solutions, and enabling photo product purchases to be initiated on one device and completed on another.
“The potential for photo product market expansion is not only to offer apps that simplify on-the-go photo product ordering—and we have seen a lot of progress made in this area over the past 12 months—but also to make any-device ordering methods for any-device photos super easy,” added Hartman.
The Photo Output Product Survey Among Mobile Photographers report ($799) consists of 107 pages with 106 graphs. The premium version ($1,999) of the report includes an addendum with 304 verbatim answers to open questions. Other reports from Suite 48 Analytics include the Multi-device Photo World – An Ecosystem in Flux, the Dispersed Photo Challenge Study, the Photo Output Product Survey Among Mobile Photographers and the Photo/Video App Market Analysis report, as well as several free white papers available for download at suite48A.com.