Mobile Cases a Growth Area for Photo Merchandise Vendors

David Haueter
Aug 4, 2015

InfoTrends has been conducting consumer surveys on the photo merchandise market for several years, and added a section about photo-personalized mobile device cases for the first time in the 2015 survey. Mobile device cases represent a huge market opportunity purely based on the number of smartphones and tablets that are sold every year. They also have high retention rate potential, as most smartphones are upgraded nearly every two years or so with newer models which typically mean a new case will be needed as well. Cases that are personalized with photos also represent a big opportunity for photo merchandise vendors. The InfoTrends 2015 U.S. Photo Merchandise Survey reveals some buying habits of these products.

According to survey results, only 14% of respondents have purchased a mobile case with a personalized photo in the last year, which is well under the penetration rate of other photo merchandise products (for instance, over 24% said they bought photo books in the last year). Consumers have a wide selection of non-personalized mobile cases to choose from which can have specific features such as shock protection or extra battery power that photo-personalized cases usually don’t provide, but there is still great potential to sell photo cases to first-time buyers. Survey results show that personalized-photo cases are most popular among 18-34 year olds and those that have children in the household. No surprise there – the vast majority of photo cases I’ve seen with a photo used a shot of the owner’s children.

Photo-personalized cases are more commonly being ordered for smartphones rather than tablets. According to the survey, 77% of the personalized case orders were placed from a smartphone and 70% of those orders placed from the smartphone were done so using an app rather than a mobile-web browser. The average amount spent for a case was $41, and Walgreens, Shutterfly and Walmart were the top three vendors that survey respondents ordered photo-personalized mobile cases from. A “birthday” was the most popular occasion that photo cases were purchased for, and 72% of buyers said they’ll order photo-personalized mobile cases again in the next year.

InfoTrends will release our annual photo merchandise forecast later this year and expect that mobile cases personalized with photos (which will be in the forecast for the first time this year) will have healthy growth rates. However, we also believe there are things that photo merchandise vendors could be doing to liven up their business. Most of the photo-personalized cases available today for smartphones are simple hard shells that do little to actually protect the device and offer no other features or benefits. There is an opportunity for photo-personalized cases that have some of the protective features of the more rugged cases or an extra battery built-in to make them more attractive to prospective buyers that may want the special features along with a personalized photo.

For more information on the 2015 Photo Merchandise Survey, contact Matt O’Keefe at


New InfoTrends Studies

More blogs from

2016 InfoTrends, Inc.

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux