This article originally appear in the Photo Reporter on March 20, 2012 and can be view by clicking here.


Weymouth, MA—A recent InfoTrends report, U.S Online Photo Services Forecast: 2010-2015, highlights key market drivers in the online photo services market, projecting that by 2015 more than 80% of total net-to-mail (online) revenue will come from custom photo gifts and merchandise.

Other key points include that new product categories will emerge in the photo merchandise market to fuel growth, and printing and photo merchandise purchasing from mobile devices will provide additional opportunities for online photofinishers.

While online photofinishers have being offering basic photo products like photo cards, books and calendars, new products such as home décor (canvas wrap and fine art prints, posters, photo panels, children’s wall decorations) are now providing opportunities for online providers—because many retail outlets do not have the required equipment and operator training to create them. But whether you’re an online provider or brick-and-mortar retailer, continued product innovation is essential to fuel customers’ desires to enjoy and share their photos in different ways.

The study also considers trends in photo and memory preservation. The study states that consumers continue to rely on photo prints as a means of passing on their photos to future generations, and that print providers should leverage this. InfoTrends stresses the importance of prints or photo books as an easy way to pass photos down, adding that it’s also beneficial for those photofinishers that offer long-term storage of original images used for printing in case the originals are ever lost or damaged. “If photofinishers position themselves as a means to preserve photos that can be potentially lost, consumers who are less apt to purchase photo products will have an incentive to buy,” states the report.

Mobile applications were also considered. With today’s mobile lifestyle, most major online photo services now offer mobile applications that let users view their online photo albums, upload new photos and share them by various means. However, InfoTrends notes that many of these apps do not provide the ability to order prints or custom photo merchandise items. InfoTrends suggests adding this feature to online applications as many consumers use their mobile phone as their primary device for picture taking, storage and sharing.

InfoTrends’ U.S Online Photo Services Forecast: 2010-2015 report provides 2010 and 2011 market size estimates and projections through 2015 for the online photo services market, including active users (members who upload photos and visitors who do not) and net-to-mail photofinishing revenues (prints and custom photo merchandise).