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InfoTrends/CAP Ventures Study Shows Digital Photo Printing Market at a Crossroads: Growth or Decline?

(Weymouth, MA) June, 21 2005... According to a groundbreaking new report from InfoTrends/CAP Ventures, the U.S. digital photo printing market could easily be in decline by 2010 unless vendors and market conditions change course.  The study examines significant changes that will occur, such as a continued decline in film prints, a shift to printing digital photos outside the home, and the growth of camera phones as a photo source.

This may come as a surprise to those that have witnessed such astounding growth in digital photography.  Recent InfoTrends/CAP Ventures forecasts show that U.S. consumer digital camera penetration will reach 55% and shipments of around 25 million in 2005, growing to 81% and about 21 million units shipped in 2010.  Camera phone penetration will grow from 31% and just over 36 million units shipped to 86% and nearly 80 million units shipped over the same period.   But the growth in unit placements may not offset print volume decline.

“Most industry watchers expected digital prints to offset declining film prints,” says Kristy Holch with InfoTrends/CAP Ventures.  “But each year, new tools make it easier for consumers to view, share, and store some or all their photos digitally.  Our research shows that, in fact, the average print volume per digital camera user has been slowly declining.  If this trend continues, total print volume (film plus digital) will actually decline over the next five years at an average annual rate of 4%.”

Alternatively, the total digital photo print market could keep growing.  For this to happen, print vendors must improve the ease and cost of photo printing, and give consumers reasons to print, such as for long-term storage, among other things.

The new report outlines two possible outcomes for the market.  The first shows current trends continuing, with the U.S. digital photo print market growing from 7.8 billion prints* in 2004 to a peak in 2007, and then declining to reach 12.3 billion in 2010.  The growing penetration of digital cameras and camera phones helps slow the decline.  The second outcome shows sustained print activity, with print volume climbing steadily to 25 billion prints by 2010.  The revenue at stake is tremendous, ranging from $3.7 billion at the low end to $7.6 billion at the high end by 2010.   (* Print volumes are given in 4” x 6” equivalents.)

“There are other pressing unknowns in the photo printing market,” says Holch, “such as who will get the print revenue (home, retail, or online), and what is the impact of camera phones?  We forecast that the home is likely to remain the leading print location through 2009, and digital cameras will continue to make more prints than other sources.  But the market is so fluid at this stage that we’ve had to outline unexpected developments that could radically alter the outcome.  Industry standards, technology breakthroughs, and consumer behavior are all ingredients in the mix.”

Although the digital photo print market may not regain the volume of film prints, other digital photo-related solutions may compensate.  Photo greeting cards, albums, and storage/archival services are potential strong growth areas for digital photography over the next five years. 

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures’ report entitled 2005 US Digital Photo Prints Forecast is available immediately. The study details the photo print market by volume, revenue, print location, print source, print sizes, paper types, % of pictures taken that are printed, combined film plus print volume, and more.

InfoTrends/CAP Ventures is the leading worldwide market research and strategic consulting firm for the digital imaging and document solutions industries. InfoTrends/CAP Ventures provides research, analysis, forecasts, and advice to help clients understand market trends, identify opportunities, and develop strategies to grow their businesses. Additional information about InfoTrends/CAP Ventures is available on the Web at

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