While we don’t know exactly what of, according to Keypoint Intelligence, people across the planet will take around 1,436,300,000,000 photos in 2020. That’s over 1.4 trillion. Wowzer! And that number is forecast to keep growing, reaching around 1.56 trillion in 2022. We were keen to find out just what people are doing with those precious images, once they’ve snapped them. Here’s what we learned:
Having just moved house, I can attest to the sheer numbers of photos families have tucked away in packets, albums, and dog-eared envelopes. Some of them treasured memories, far more bearing witness to dodgy haircuts, ill-advised fashions, and unremarkable landscapes. Many of mine (like me!) go back a long way. They would have been produced on film, taken to a chemist, and collected – with much anticipation – in person. But things have changed.
For one, film prints now make up less than 3% of the total. Digital rules here as it does in virtually every area of our lives. No surprise when 3 billion of the world’s population carry a pretty good camera, aka a smartphone. What might come as a surprise is that, across the UK and most of Europe, printed digital photos are on a downward trend, declining by 2.5% in 2019. That’s still 5,537 million prints (1,212 million of these in the UK) and so a significant number. Less people are choosing to print them at home or in stores (close to a 10% fall for each), there’s a slight reduction in those ordering prints from the Internet (down 1%), while kiosks are proving more favourable.
If they’re not printing them, aside from using them to harvest followers and likes, what are consumers doing with their photos? Seems they’re keen for a way to retain and present them which makes them both accessible and attractive. Photobooks are the answer.
Volumes of photobooks across Europe grew by 0.7% in 2019 to 22.01 million units. We Brits are the biggest fans of all with figures here growing 4.7% in volume and 3.2% in value. Partly due to COVID giving many of us time on our hands while stuck at home, this is forecast to rise steeply by another 10.5% in 2020!
Merchandise and gifts
Photobooks are “on the up” but it’s an increase which pales when compared to photo-merchandise. The range of this continues to blossom without bounds - think calendars, wall décor, phone and tablet covers, mugs, cushions, personalised adult and kids’ books, etc. And, as the number of products grows, so does consumer spending. Reaching around €944 million across Europe in 2019, made up of some 239 million units it’s likely to be closer to €1 billion in 2020.
Being products that require no third-party retailer they totally lend themselves to the direct-to-consumer (D2C) model which is borne out in the figures. Shoppers are overwhelmingly buying online and taking delivery at home. When it comes to photocards, 90.4% (a staggering 97% in UK) are bought like this.
Perhaps next time I “up sticks” it won’t be with box-loads of prints but rather with neatly ordered, indexed books and a handy collection of mugs. Either way, I’m hoping that upheaval is later rather than sooner.
All figures are taken from Futuresource Consulting’s Western Europe Market Track reports, including its Consumer Photo Merchandise, Consumer Photo Prints and Consumer Photobook Market Summaries of 2020.