Mobile Devices Growing in Popularity as Photo Merchandise Creating & Ordering Tools

David Haueter
Sep 4, 2014

Smartphones have become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, filling the role of not only a phone, but also a music player, GPS, calculator, calendar, flashlight, voice recorder, clock, camera, and many other functions depending on what apps are installed on it. The camera is one of the most popular functions used on the smartphone and many consumers now use a smartphone as their primary camera. In the InfoTrends 2014 U.S. Photo Merchandise End-User Survey, over 46% of respondents said the smartphone was the type of digital camera used most often, which was more popular than digital point & shoot cameras at just under 33%.

As the smartphone becomes more advanced and increases in popularity as a camera, it’s also starting to replace other photo-related devices on the output side of the digital photo ecosystem. The survey also asked respondents who said they had purchased some type of photo merchandise in the last year if they had ordered products directly from a mobile device (smartphone or tablet). A fairly large percentage of respondents reported that they had and many also said they hadn’t but were interested in doing so. Interestingly, the incident rate of those that had was nearly as high among 45 to 54 year olds in the survey as it was with 18 to 24 year olds.

There are also strong indications that consumers are starting to use their mobile devices for ordering photo merchandise more than in-store kiosks (kiosks are predominant in retail stores like CVS, Walgreens and Walmart). For instance, when photo card buyers were asked what devices they had used to create photo cards; nearly 25% said “Smartphone,” which was more popular than the in-store kiosks. Tablets were nearly as popular as the in-store kiosk. In this case, the use of Smartphones for creating photo cards was highest among 18 to 24 year olds and declined with the older age groups. Results were similar among photo book buyers in our survey.

InfoTrends has stated in earlier research that the success or failure of vendors in the photo output side of the market will depend on how they adapt to mobile, and the results from the Photo Merchandise survey further supports that statement. InfoTrends believes that the increased use of mobile devices for photography and a growing selection of user-friendly apps from online and retail vendors as well as independent developers will lead more people to use their mobile devices for photo output creation and ordering, which will help to sustain growth in the market. Retail vendors should take a closer look at how mobile devices can be used in conjunction with in-store kiosks to make the ordering process an easy and enjoyable experience, or streamline their own mobile apps to mimic the kiosk experience and make things easier on consumers that want to use both methods.



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