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Las Vegas, Nevada, March 9, 2007 – Not only are consumers living in a Web 2.0 society, but they are also immersed in a digital photography 2.0 world, according to market and research firm InfoTrends. The behaviors of digital camera users are consistent with those of Web users, said InfoTrends Director of Consumer Services Ed Lee at an InfoBriefing this morning at PMA. Like Web 2.0, user-generated content has taken on digital photography, according to InfoTrends representatives.
With developing markets for repeat buyers, female consumers, and teenagers, manufacturers have demonstrated this week that they are continuing to shift toward these new audiences and are using the Internet to lure them in.
As of last year, repeat camera buyers have finally outnumbered first-time buyers. Repeat buyers tend to be affluent and are more "photo active," said Lee. InfoTrends predicts that this year 70 percent of the market will be made up of repeat camera purchases. By 2010, the number of repeat buyers is expected to reach 95 percent of the market.
Women, another developing digital camera segment, tend be the ones who print more. With plenty of printing options available, users are increasingly using online printing services, according to the research firm.
The challenge, according to InfoTrends associate director David Haueter, is getting another rising segment group to print their photos – teenagers, also known as "screenagers." These "screenagers" tend to view their photos on computer screens, iPods, cell phones, and other personal media devices that have LCD displays, according to InfoTrends.
With the Web as fuel, the photo industry is making steps to gain a foothold on these new groups of consumers, according to the researchers. The photo industry is moving away from a stand-alone business model, according to InfoTrends. "It’s not just products, but products and services," said Lee, and that includes online photo-sharing sites, photo printing sites, and photo merchandising Internet options.
Recent trends in the industry have shown some manufacturer consolidation such as the Hoya and Pentax merger. The industry has also seen General Electric enter the digital camera market as General Imaging. "With companies fighting for the same customer, it will be difficult for any new player," said Lee.
This year's PMA show illustrates an expanded range of new digital camera features including wireless connection, HD capabilities, automatic tagging, more face detection, built-in retouching capabilities in point-and-shoots and live preview in DSLRs. "2007 is an evolutionary year with revolutionary features for 2008," said Lee.
Despite these changes, the objective for manufacturers is simple, according to InfoTrends, and that is to take advantage of the Internet-based economy.