Smartphone Photographers Embrace Photo Output Products: Major Market Ready To Be Tapped

Study highlights monetization opportunities and challenges for photo app developers


March 18, 2014

55% of smartphone photographers now have experience with ordering photo output products, according to the new Photo Output Product Survey Among Mobile Photographers, a study that mobile photography research firm Suite 48 Analytics conducted among 1,641 North American mobile photographers. Of the respondents with photo ordering experience, 79% have also 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.”

In addition, 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.

The study also sheds light on how smartphone photographers create and order photo products. As yet, 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 photobooks, calendars or sets of photo prints.

“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 vs. 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, 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,” according to Hartman.


 

The Photo Output Product Survey Among Mobile Photographers report consists of 107 pages with 106 graphs. The premium version of the report includes an addendum with 304 verbatim answers to all open questions.


The report addresses the following topics:

  1. Who was surveyed?

  2. Which mobile devices and operating systems do they use for taking photos?

  3. Have they ever ordered photo output products? 

  4. What method did they use?

  5. What types of products did they order?

  6. If they had not ordered, why not?

  7. Would they consider ordering if...?

  8. Have they ever ordered photo output products that contain smartphone photos?

  9. Was this their first photo product order?

  10. What method did they use?

  11. What types of products did they order?

  12. Would they consider ordering more products if...?

  13. If they had not ordered, why not?

  14. Would they consider ordering if...?

  15. Per product type ordered:

  16. % smartphone photos they contained?

  17. How many times did they order in the last 12 months?

  18. Reason for ordering this type of photo product?

  19. Which ordering method did they use for this type of photo product order?

  20. How are each of these questions answered differently by different demographic groups? (by gender, age, parenthood)

  21. Product types reviewed:

  22. Photo prints

  23. Photobooks

  24. Mugs

  25. Calendars

  26. Greeting cards

  27. Canvas prints

  28. Poster prints

  29. Perspective: how can photo app developers and photo output providers tap into the smartphone photo output product market?

  30. Appendix (premium version only): Verbatim answers to all open questions


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