Encouraging Signs in Mobile Photo Printing

David Haueter
Jul 2, 2015

It’s become clear over the last couple of years that the future success or failure of the photo output market relies heavily on how much consumers decide to print from their mobile devices. Smartphones have become the primary camera for most consumers and there’s no sign of that changing as the photography capabilities of these devices evolve and get better with each new generation. The potential for these devices to generate photo print orders is huge with the sheer numbers of them that will be used for photography and the growing number of photos people are taking from their smartphones, but that doesn’t mean people will print from them.

InfoTrends recently completed our 2015 U.S. Mobile Imaging Study, which gives some insight into what consumers are doing now and planning to do when it comes to ordering photo prints from their mobile phones. We asked a series of questions on respondent’s behavior when ordering prints from mobile phones, including the question “Have you ever printed your mobile phone photos directly from your mobile phone?” The results show that 27% have “tried it and will do it again,” while 7% said they “have tried it and won’t do it again.” Another 27% simply have no interest, but it’s encouraging for the print market that 23% of respondents said they “plan to but haven’t tried it yet,” while another 16% said they “didn’t realize they could print mobile phone photos, but would like to.”

It is also encouraging that respondents within the ages of 13-24 were the most likely to say that they plan to print from their mobile phones but haven’t tried it yet. Many of the people that fall into this age category have grown up with mobile devices and have no sentimental attachment to prints that those of us who are older had from growing up with film prints, yet there is a fairly high level of interest in printing their mobile phone photos. As we said before, whether they will do it or not is another question, but the desire is there.

Much of the responsibility for whether these people end up printing falls onto the large retailers who offer printing services in their stores, such as Walgreens, Walmart and CVS. If these stores can make consumers more aware of their printing capabilities and give them a good experience, there’s a good chance that our survey group who wants to try it will fall into the “I tried it and will do it again” category in future surveys. If they have a bad experience, they’ll likely fall into the “I tried it and won’t do it again” category. We’ll be trying out some of the in-store retail print experiences and will report on them in future blogs, to let you know which stores we think are doing it right and which ones need to make improvements.


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