The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone in one way or another, including the photo imaging industry. Looking for opportunities amid the pandemic was the primary topic discussed in a webinar discussion hosted by The Imaging Alliance last week, and Ed Lee and David Haueter both participated on behalf of Rise Above Research.
The Imaging Alliance is a group of imaging industry leaders who work to promote and sustain the imaging market by helping members adapt to disruptive technologies and changing consumer habits. Besides Rise Above Research, there were participants on the call from NDP and BluePixel as well as owners of some independent camera shops.
Ed Lee and David Haueter both talked about how COVID-19 has impacted the imaging market, with Lee focusing on the number of images taken and Haueter looking at the photo merchandise market. Lee estimates that there will be a 15% decline in images captured in 2020 due to stay-at-home restrictions, travel bans and cancellation of events. One of the biggest events to be cancelled was the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which Lee figures resulted in the loss of over 1 billion photos being taken.
There are still a LOT of photos being captured. Lee estimates that there will be 1.13 trillion photos taken in 2020, which is 145 pictures for every person in the world. There are also 7 trillion images being stored, which could represent a great opportunity. The imaging industry could get a significant bump in revenue if consumers were to take the time to go back through some of their old photos and print or make photo products from even a small percentage of them.
David Haueter predicted that COVID-19 would also result in a 13% decline in the unit sales of photo merchandise products in 2020, specifically photo books, cards, calendars and wall décor. The reasons are essentially the same as those behind the drop in images taken, with far fewer events that typically result in photos being printed (including graduations and vacations), as well as unemployment and financial uncertainty. The print market may also cause more consumers to order products online versus in retail stores, as many avoid going into stores unless they must and would not be comfortable using a touch screen on a photo kiosk.
The silver lining in the photo products market is that many of these items are ordered in the 4th quarter Holiday season, which may stem the decline somewhat. The pandemic has also resulted in people being home more, with more time to start or finish a photo project or finally go through all their old photos and print their favorites. Photo products also make meaningful gifts, so there are opportunities to influence consumers to give the gift of a photo book, for instance, versus other gifts that may cost more.
Keep an eye on this website for the latest forecast and analysis reports from Rise Above Research.
For more information on The Imaging Alliance, check out theimagingalliance.com