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PMA: Retail Digital Printing Doubled in 2003

Jackson, Mich — The printing of digital images at retail more than doubled from 2002 to 2003, but still accounts for a small percentage of the overall retail print volume which is overwhelmingly analog, according to numbers from the Photo Marketing Association (PMA).

In 2003, 2.5 percent of all prints made at retail came from digital sources, versus the less than 1 percent produced a year earlier. Digital printing is expected to surge this year, accounting for 6.1 percent of all retail prints in 2004 and nearly 20 percent of all prints in 2006. PMA attributed the rise to the promotion of retail digital printing services by drugstore and discount chains, which account for the majority of photo printing activity in the U.S.

Despite the gains of digital printing, the overall volume of photo prints made at retail is projected to grow modestly, if at all. In 2003, 29.7 billion prints were made from both film and digital images. Total printing volume is projected to rise to 30.3 billion in 2004 and to 31.0 billion by 2006, according to PMA.

The strong growth in digital print volumes at retail (including kiosks) has come, predictably, at the expense of home printer usage. For the year ended in January 2004, 67.1 percent of digital prints were made on home printers, down from 80.1 percent in the year earlier period. During the same time, retailers saw their share of the digital printing market increase 4.5 percent, from 8.1 percent to 12.6 percent, while kiosks’ share of the market increased from 2.1 percent to 8.5 percent.

Online photo services also benefited, increasing from 6.4 percent to 8.7 percent share of the digital print volume.