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InfoTrends: Excess of Digital Images is Untapped Market

InfoTrends: Excess of Digital Images is Untapped Market

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*Cologne, Germany, September 27, 2006 - *The majority of captured images have not been monetized by retailers or the industry, according to an InfoTrends press conference at Photokina. Conventional film photography enabled companies to make money from printing, but with digital photography, print volumes are decreasing. Approximately 65 percent of digital images are not printed, making for a currently untapped digital imaging market. 

Living in an "era of excess," according to InfoTrends director Jeff Hayes, hundreds of billions images have been taken globally. The majority, 65 percent, of those images are not being fully utilized in profitable ventures, according to Kodak general manger Brad Kruchten. Both men spoke at an InfoTrends press event at Photokina 2006.

Most pictures remain on a consumer’s hard drive, and only a minority - roughly 20 percent - of captured images make it to print, according to Kruchten At this rate, by next year, 300 billion images will have not been monetized, said Kruchten.

With print volumes leveling, the imaging industry has virtually an open window to make a profit from overwhelming number of images.

One reason for the high volume of non-monetized pictures, as InfoTrends described, is the shifting business model from analog to digital. In the past, the industry relied on a strict mold in which users captured and then printed. "It’s not the old model;" said Kodak general manger Brad Kruchten, "That’s gone." Instead, the capture-print model shifted to a manage-and-share method, with more time spent on the in-between process, said InfoTrends director Jeff Hayes. Users are increasingly spending more time on organizing, editing, and sharing their photos, rather than printing. InfoTrends found that free emailing is the number one photo-sharing method used by camera owners.

Even with attempts to break into this new market with photo gifts and merchandising, the industry has not reached its potential for the market, according to Kruchten. "People don’t understand all the choices," stated Kruchten.

The desire to utilize images is, infact, present among consumers. "People will open up their wallets on memories," said Kruchten. On average, a consumer will spend $210 a year for "memory-keeping." "Money and memories go together," he said.

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As recommendations to the imaging industry, InfoTrends stated the best approach to capitalize on the unused pictures is to ease the experience of the customer. By offering and explaining their printing options, with consideration to pricing, manufacturers could realize the potential of the era of excess market.

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