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Nov 13, 2013

As more people share their photos online, fewer people opt to print their photos. Social networking sites have become the destination for many of our photos. But can social media really be to blame for the declining print market? It might be fair to say that the photo print market was in trouble the moment photography went digital. For some years consumers persisted with printing habits adopted from the analogue era. However it seems inevitable that digital would eventually get the best of prints.

One of the biggest barriers to printing is the social media platform. Social networking sites such as Facebook have become a foundation for photo sharing as a way to communicate with friends. Mobile apps dedicated to photo sharing, such as Instagram and Snapchat have extended easy and instant photo sharing to smartphones and tablets. Social networks perfectly meet the needs for instant sharing of images. In the age of connectivity individuals are becoming reporters of their own news and personal photography is becoming time sensitive. Whilst many of these photos have only a limited life span some are exceptional and deserve to continue life as prints or photo merchandise.

Facebook recently revealed that there are 350 million photos uploaded to their network daily. Whilst online photo sharing is seen as capital punishment for photo prints it can offer print services a lifeline to seize back some growth. Although photo sharing has become a fundamental part of online communication, printing on the other hand has not yet become a common activity. There are many photo print service providers offering print solution direct from social networking and photo sharing sites, however there remains only a small fraction of people actually printing these photos.

The first hurdle is for print service providers to make consumers aware that it is possible to  print photos stored on online communities. The next obstacle is to encourage consumers to use their print services by implementing effective marketing messages to the right consumers at the right time. With the billions of photos stored and shared online there is plenty of room for print service providers to invest in opportunities that exist within social networking.

The InfoTrends Social Network Photo Trends report is available on the InfoTrends report store. This report provides an overview of the use of social networks in Western Europe. It considers photo and video sharing behaviours, average time spent on social networking sites, photo activities conducted, as well as changes in photo and video related activity since using social networking sites.

For more information please contact our European Sales Manager Jennie Lewis jennie.lewis@infotrends.com

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