San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
Though the volume of digital printing continues to increase, more consumers are gravitating toward social networks and alternative forms of image sharing, according to PMA.
The association released portions of research from its annual survey of U.S. households, alongside its monthly printing and camera report for June.
Digital camera sales grew nearly 4 percent in June, according to The NPD Group and PMA.
According to PMA's Monthly Imaging Survey for June, digital print volumes also enjoyed growing, climbing 19 percent for the month, with online ordering growing the fastest, at a rate of 38 percent.
Printing volumes at retail minilabs and instant kiosks enjoyed increases of 25 percent and 23 percent, respectively, while home printing experienced a 2 percent gain.
Retail took a 50.6 percent share of prints made for the month, up from 47.2 in June 2007. Of the prints made at retail, 15 percent were made on a kiosk, 23.9 percent on a retail minilab and 11.7 percent sent to a store from the Web.
Online mail order prints accounted for 15.8 percent of print activity (up from 13.5 percent), while home printers contributed to 32.6 percent of total print volume, down from 38 percent a year ago.
PMA also released new figures from its 2008 U.S. Digital Imaging Survey. According to the report, optical media was the top storage medium for digital images, followed by hard drives and external hard drives. Consumers stored an average of 953 images on optical discs vs. 277 images on online services.
The majority of consumers polled (69 percent) felt that their digital images were "at least somewhat safe." Seventy-eight percent felt that images stored on DVD are at least somewhat safe. Only 14 percent felt that images stored on DVD were at least somewhat unsafe, PMA observed.
According the report, paid online storage received an average safety rating of 3.5 out of 5, the poorest rating among all methods of storage.
PMA also noted that 43 percent of households received digital pictures via the Internet or on CD/DVD from family friends or relatives in 2007, up from 39 percent in 2006.
Despite the increase, fewer recipients made prints — only 25 percent vs. 35 percent in 2006. "Households where the head is 60 years old and over are twice as likely as households where the head is under 30 to make prints from the images they receive," PMA reported.
Just under a fifth of U.S. households (19 percent) uploaded images to a social network last year, PMA reported. They sent an average of 66 photos online.
According to PMA, 59 percent of those younger than 30 years old uploaded to a social network compared with only 5 percent of those 60 years and older. Those younger than 30 years old also upload an average of 91 pictures, more than any other age segment.
Higher resolution camera phones have also made in-roads in the consumer market, but have yet to register as a major source of prints. Half of all U.S. homes reported owning a camera phone last year.
Households with camera phones boasting 3-megapixels sensors (or higher) were more likely to engage with their photos. PMA noted that 38 percent of 1-megapixel camera phone owners shared their images on the screen with family and friends compared with 50 percent of 3-megapixel model owners who did the same.
Even high-resolution camera phone owners don't print, however. Only 6 percent of 3-megapixel-plus camera phone owners reported making prints vs. 4 percent for those with lower-resolution models.