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May 3, 2005 – With digital cameras streamlining their print menus and transfer processes, the home photo printing market was up $400 million in 2004. According to a study by InfoTrends/CAP Ventures, photo printer manufacturers are making printers that are faster and make higher quality pictures that last longer. The home printing market is in direct competition with online photo printing services and retail printers, but seems to be holding its own right now.
"Home printer vendors are in a battle for the print market, and they don’t intend to lose," said Ed Lee, director of the photo printing trends service at InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. "To further sweeten the pot, vendors are lowering the cost of prints, so prices are now competitive with retail and online printing."
In 2004, the home printing market saw a 39 percent increase in home printer shipments. Only 5 percent of the $1.5 billion photo printer industry went to snapshot-sized photo printers. This may sound paltry, but this segment of the market grew by 170 percent in a year to 2.2 million shipments. This market segment is also valuable because customers who purchase snapshot-sized printers tend to spend more money on consumables such as ink and paper.
Convenience is key in the home printing market – and digital cameras are only making things easier. Menus and specialized buttons for printing are appearing on camera bodies. Camera and printer docks are becoming more and more common, and wireless picture transfer is beginning to make its appearance on the scene.
"The digital camera revolution has ignited demand for better home photo printing solutions," Lee said. "Vendors have seized on the opportunity by rolling out a succession of new photo printing features, spawning upgrades that are meeting consumer needs and invigorating the stagnant printer market."