Surge in Online Photofinishing

Industry Perspective

Surge in Online Photofinishing

By Ron Leach

According to a recent report released by InfoTrends, online photofinishing revenues in the U.S. will surpass $1.5 billion by 2012—more than doubling since 2007. The largest growth category is expected to be custom photo gifts and merchandise which is anticipated to represent nearly 70% of that total—up from less than 50% two years ago.

Experts at InfoTrends, a leading consulting and market research firm serving the digital imaging industry, explain that online photo services will be the primary channel for ordering photo gifts as long as they continue to develop innovative custom items that cannot be produced at retail stores.

The InfoTrends report cautions that despite the significant opportunity for online vendors, this market is not without challenges. As consumers embrace new means of sharing, viewing, and displaying their images, successful online photo will have to evolve. For example, consumers are still printing their pictures but they are printing fewer of them, and often opt to share their photos via social networking sites.

Alan Bullock, Associate Director at InfoTrends, commented, "Online photo services must consider their role in this ecosystem-will they remain focused on printed output, or will they take steps to open the walls that have surrounded their customers' images for many years? Such steps toward a more open architecture will increase the opportunities for printed output."