Evolving Photographer Types Portend the Future of Camera Ownership

Ed Lee
Mar 21, 2018

InfoTrends conducts annual consumer surveys to track changes in digital photography behaviors. Over time, we have observed a number of important trends including the evolution of the type of photographer that digital camera owners consider themselves to be, from those who rarely take photos to casual/snapshooters, memory keepers, hobbyists and advanced hobbyists.

The type of photographer that consumers assign to themselves depends on their state of mind and their stage of life. Camera owners with a strong interest in photography tend to fall into the hobbyist or advanced hobbyist segments. Parents with children might fall into the memory keeper and hobbyist segments. Teenagers tend to see themselves as casual photographers or someone who rarely takes photos.

Since the introduction of smartphones, we have seen significant shifts in the mix of photographer types among camera owners. Between 2010 and 2017, there was a dramatic decline in the percentage of camera owners who consider themselves casual photographers. InfoTrends believes that these casual photographers have migrated from using a digital camera to a smartphone. Likewise, people who rarely take photos have likely switched over to smartphones, and perhaps have even retired their digital cameras. In 2013, mobile phones surpassed digital cameras as the camera used most often and the gap continues to widen each year.

The percentage of memory keepers, hobbyists, and advanced hobbyists has grown from 53% of photographer types in 2010 to 72% in 2017. These consumers generally have a strong interest in photography and want high quality photos. InfoTrends expects that memory keepers, hobbyists, and advanced hobbyists will continue to account for the bulk of camera owners. While nearly everyone will also own a smartphone, they will still turn to their cameras for most of their photos.

To keep these photographers engaged, digital camera vendors and retailers need to establish an ongoing dialog with them to find out what they think makes photography fun, their attitudes towards camera brands, what they think about the current level of equipment and services, what they would like to see in future offerings, how they are using their cameras, accessories, software, and related photo services, and are they taking advantage of education opportunities. InfoTrends will be conducting surveys throughout the year with consumers and professional photographers to understand their attitudes and behaviors around the topics of capture, edit, share, print, and equipment ownership, purchase plans, and rentals.

To learn more about our ongoing research of the consumer and professional photography markets, contact Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends.

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