By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The photo industry will increasingly rely on moms and digital SLR buyers as a source of growing revenue, according to a study released by The NPD Group at the Photo Marketing Association trade show, here, last month.
According to the research firm, while consumers, especially repeat buyers, are printing less, mom is going strong — outpacing all other camera owners in the number of prints made.
"Twenty-two percent of moms claim to have created hard-copy scrapbooks and 20 percent were making greeting cards, compared to just 13 percent and 11 percent, respectively, for digital camera owners at large. But only 7 percent of moms indicated that they were making personalized hard-copy photo books. This is one area where good marketing by retailers could really help drive sales," the research firm observed.
There are road blocks to greater retail printing, NPD cautioned. "Enjoyment of the 'do-it-yourself' printing experience, price, location, time and quality of prints were some of the key reasons consumers said they were not printing outside the home."
Ignorance remains an inhibitor as well, the firm said. "Eleven percent of digital camera users who weren't using online printing services said they don't know how to order prints through this method, and 10 percent of those not using a kiosk said they don't know how."
On the hardware front, NPD predicted that accessories will keep the imaging business "booming" as camera revenue stalls. Accessories such as lenses, cases, batteries, speedlights, tripods, accessory kits, docks, lens filters and adapters, powerpacks and chargers, grew 29 percent in units and 40 percent in dollars from 2005 to 2006, NPD observed. The accessory market's contribution to the overall imaging category increased from 9 percent to 13 percent in the forecast period.
Lenses led the pack, up 56 percent in dollars.
Digital storage is also growing (though not counted in NPD's imaging accessories tracking). The firm noted that sales of flash-memory cards grew 32 percent in 2006, USB flash drives grew 57 percent and external hard drives grew 73 percent.
"There is a real opportunity here for retailers and manufacturers to embrace the growing digital camera install base," said Liz Cutting, digital imaging analyst, NPD. "It's going to be up to the retailers and manufacturers to create welcoming environments and provide their customers with support and guidance."
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