57% of Consumers Still Buying Printed Photo Products

Results from a recent consumer research study from Futuresource Consulting - Exploring the main methods and devices used to share digital images.

Despite the continued surge in photo sharing through social media sites, many consumers are still buying printed photo products, according to a new consumer research study from Futuresource Consulting.

The survey, carried out with 4,000 people across the UK, USA, France and Germany, explored the main methods and devices used to share digital images, the usage of specific websites and smartphone and tablet applications, as well as the types of equipment owned, frequency of image capture and purchase of photo products.

"Over the last 12 months across all four countries, 57% of people have bought a personalised photo product, such as photo-prints, photobooks, calendars, posters or cards," says Jamal Mehmood, Research Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. "Photo-prints are leading the way, with 42% of people making a purchase, followed by photobooks at 23%."

Across all photo product categories, the 18 to 34 age group is most likely to purchase. When people are purchasing by tablet or smartphone, photo-prints and photobooks are the most popular products.

"There are very clear differences in purchase behaviour across the countries surveyed, with photo-prints the least popular in the UK, whilst France is leading the way in photobook purchases by quite a margin," says Mehmood.

When it comes to sharing photos electronically, consumers have now turned to the smartphone as the primary device to share photos with friends and family, taking over from last year's number one device, the laptop screen.

"In terms of online photo sharing, e-mail remains a popular platform to share photos and this could be due to the perceived higher level of security/privacy. If this is the case, we can expect this to remain true for the future. When asked which website or app consumers use to share photos, Facebook leads across all countries with Snapchat showing the most significant growth - an increase of 12% in the USA."

In Germany, WhatsApp comes in a close second with a difference of just 5% behind Facebook. WhatsApp also maintains the second spot in the UK, although it doesn't have the same popularity as that of the German market. Instagram and Google+ are both placed second in the USA and France respectively. But again, they can't match the popularity of Facebook, whether it's online or via the mobile app.

The smartphone is the device most often used to take photos. Smartphone cameras are constantly improving in terms of lens and resolution, as are the weight and battery life of smartphones themselves, making them far more suitable as substitutes for fixed lens cameras, which contrasts with last year's findings, in which the ownership of fixed lens cameras was marginally higher. 

Results from the research indicate that over 60% of respondents are taking photos on a smartphone at least once a week and only 29% do the same on a fixed lens camera.

The Futuresource Consumer Photo Sharing Report provides insight into how consumers currently interact with and share photos. For more information, please contact Andy Watson at Futuresource Consulting, via andy.watson@futuresource-hq.com. 

Supplementary Note: A research sample of 4,000 consumers was used to conduct this survey. The participants were based in four countries (UK, the USA, France and Germany). The age range was 18 years and upwards. 


Futuresource Consulting is a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company, providing organisations with insight into consumer electronics, digital imaging, entertainment media, broadcast, storage media, education technology and IT. With a heritage stretching back to the 1980s, the company delivers in-depth analysis and forecasts on a global scale, advising on strategic positioning, market trends, competitive forces and technological developments. www.futuresource-consulting.com.

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