16 August 2020 Print Companies

Photo books boosted by pandemic effects

Consumers switching to online purchasing has helped producers of photo books and other personalised merchandise, says report.

Demand for printed photo books and similar products increased during 2019 – ahead of the acceleration caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Futuresource, the consulting company that specialises in consumer electronics, the value of the market for photo print, photo books and photo merchandise, increased 3% to €3.1 billion across the six largest European markets. Until 2019, the market had been static for a number of years.

And the size of the market is likely to have increased during the lockdown period. Printers printing these products have noted that volumes have increased to levels equivalent to the busy pre Christmas levels. Some resellers reported a 30% increase in new customers during the first half of 2020 due to consumers having time on their hands at home.

Futuresource notes that the drive to online ordering was increased by the closure of high street photo processing outlets, some fearing that this business will not return with the easing of lockdowns. Once consumers have switched online they are less likely to return to previous habits.

Futuresource predicts a 10% increase in value across the sector in the years to 2024, led by a 4.5% annual growth in photo merchandise. Photo books are growing at 2.0% CAGR with a slight year on year decline in photo prints.

Photo book volumes will grow 8% this year, though price competition means that value is growing as quickly. The market is dividing between high value high quality lay flat products with an increasing number of pages selected by returning customers, perhaps even printed on silver halide papers, and quick to create, social media led photo books which are gaining traction at the lower cost end of the market.

There was a huge upswing in online ordering of greetings cards, typified by Moonpig’s reporting of a triple digit growth for photo upload cards during April. Overall, Futuresource expects a 10% increase in volumes of photo merchandise over the whole of 2020, led by the UK, Benelux and Germany, the three largest markets for photo merchandise, as consumers were deprived of the opportunity to buy from traditional retailers.

The report says that Millennials and subsequent generations have grown up with digital imaging, but thanks to instant print cameras and self service kiosks, are exploring higher value printed versions.

Smartphone apps have helped popularise this, leading to some being acquired the established online players. There is a concern, says Futuresource, that consumers do not want these occasional use apps clogging up their smartphones.

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Layflat growth

Layflat growth

Higher quality lay flat photo books on higher quality and photographic papers are proving popular at one end of the market with low cost products ordered through apps growing at the other. The market for photo and personalised merchandise is increasing as a whole, says Futuresource.

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