Hobbyist Photographers are Key Buyers and Influencers in Photo Merchandise Market

David Haueter
Aug 30, 2013

To be successful, most photo merchandise vendors must rely on sales to the average snapshot photographer who makes up a large percentage of the addressable market for products like photo cards, books and calendars. However, it’s also important for even for the largest vendors not to lose sight of the market for the hobbyist photographers, the type of photographers who more often rely on their camera instead of their camera-phone and who know how aperture, shutter speed and ISO influence photos.

InfoTrends survey research over the years has consistently shown that those who identify themselves as “Hobbyist” or “Advanced Hobbyist” photographers produce significantly more printed products than those that identify themselves as “Snapshot” or Family Memory-Keeper” photographers. Hobbyist photographers likely tend to be more creative types that experiment with their photography and enjoy seeing their best work displayed on their walls or in a photo book. These photographers are also more likely to understand the vulnerability of relying solely on electronic storage methods for their photos and want to have their best pictures in printed form.

The chart below was taken from our 2013 U.S. Photo Merchandise End-User Survey (http://store.infotrendsresearch.com/product_p/134526.htm) gives a good example of how much more popular photo merchandise products (including photo books, cards, calendars and specialty photo print products like canvas, photo panels and posters) are with hobbyist photographers. While only 32% of snapshot photographers and 45% of family memory-keeper photographers in the entire survey population had ordered any kind of photo merchandise product in the last year, those percentages rose to 57% for hobbyist photographers and 71% for advanced hobbyist photographers. Hobbyist/advanced hobbyist photographers also make significantly more traditional photo prints than the snapshot or family memory-keeper photographers, from both digital cameras and mobile devices.

InfoTrends research from the same study also shows that hobbyist/advanced hobbyist photographers that are already photo merchandise buyers are much more likely than snapshot and family memory-keepers to buy these types of products again in the next year. 78% of advanced hobbyist photographers and 74% of hobbyist photographers said they plan to buy again in the next year, compared to 64% of family memory-keeper photographers and 46% of snapshot photographers. Hobbyist/advanced hobbyist photographers also spend significantly more on photo products during the year.

The hobbyist/advanced hobbyist photographers also represent a fairly significant portion of the population (27% were hobbyists or advanced hobbyists in recent survey), and aside from the fact that they’re creating and buying more printed photo products, this group also has a strong influence on the buying habits of friends and family that may fall into the snapshot of family memory-keeper photographer categories. “Word of mouth” advertising is a key driver for first-time photo merchandise purchases, and it’s very likely that snapshot or family memory-keepers that have hobbyist photographer friends are going to turn to them for advice not only for camera purchases, but also for advice on the buying of products like photo books, canvas and photo panels. Vendors in the market should take this to heart in marketing activities, perhaps by using some direct marketing that rewards referrals to friends and family.


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