Las Vegas, Nevada, March 9, 2007 – To the dismay of retailers, recent years have shown that consumer printing keeps on falling. According to market and research firm InfoTrends, there are "bright spots" the printing industry can look forward to, said InfoTrends vice president and general manager Jeff Hayes at an InfoBriefing this morning at PMA.
Only 26 percent of all digital images taken actually make it to print, and roughly half of those images are printed in 4x6 prints.
This year, however, InfoTrends predicts that digital prints will rise slightly to 15.2 billion 4x6 prints, which is a predicted 7 percent increase from last year, according to InfoTrends. In 2009, an estimated 16 billion prints will be made, which is predicted to be the peak year for printing.
According to the market research firm, these increases will be the result of at-home printing which remains the number one method of photo printing, despite the decrease in overall printing. Consumers will purchase more multipurpose print devices over photo-dedicated printers, said InfoTrends associate director David Haueter.
The decrease in printing has also been attributed to professional photographers printing less contact sheets. With improved screen resolution, photographers feel more confident in viewing photos on screen, according to Haueter. Similarly, teenagers, or "screenagers" as they are called, make up a portion of the picture-taking population but view them on LCD screens without printing their photos.
Some retailers predict, or hope, that the saving grace for print will be camera phone printing, and that it will help to rejuvenate the business. However, Haueter counters that, 'camera phones are not the savior of the print market like once thought."
With only 20 percent of camera phone images making it to print, mobile phone users are deleting their photos to make room to store music and other data as mobile features expand. InfoTrends does predict that as megapixel count and features improve on camera phones, an increasing number of users will print their images.
"Consumers only print if they have to," said Haueter. Known as a trend called print-on-demand, users tend to select only their favorite photos, rather than entire picture collections, to print or turn into photo merchandise, such as photo books, cards, calendars and the sort. Photo merchandising will gross $800 million with a growth rate of 24.5 percent by 2010, according to InfoTrends.