Electronics trade group spots opportunity in printed photos

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The Arlington-based Consumer Electronic Association says advanced printing features potentially represent an untapped opportunity in digital photography.

The CEA, a trade association representing more than 2,000 companies, says U.S. photographers can be divided into two major groups:  primary smartphone users and primary point-and-shoot users.

But the organization says a gap exists between device usage and satisfaction in terms of printing and editing, according to a new study.

The study, “Digital Imaging – Photo Sharing and Printing” found many photographers still enjoy the permanence that print photographs offer. The CEA says this provides an opportunity for consumer adoption (or re-adoption) of point-and-shoot or digital single lens reflex cameras with multi-purpose options such as in-camera editing and printing, and Wi-Fi connectivity to expedite photo sharing and archiving.

“Many consumers who use their smartphones or basic point-and-shoots as their main photo capture devices are less satisfied with printing options, signaling a need in the marketplace,” Chris Ely, manager, industry relations, CEA, said in a statement. “These findings suggest there are untapped opportunities in advanced printing features for these segments of digital photographers.”

When it comes to printing, two in three online U.S. adult photographers print at least one photo in a typical month. Additionally, roughly two in five (42 percent) estimate they spend more than 25 dollars each year to print photos, exhibiting a steady demand for printing.

However, online U.S. adult smartphone and point-and-shoot photographers (60 percent) are less satisfied with their current capabilities for printing photos.

Among primary smartphone and basic point-and-shoot photographers, editing photos is another point of contention. Consumers who primarily use their smartphones or point-and-shoot cameras for photos are less likely to be satisfied with current editing capabilities (61 percent satisfied). Furthermore, six in ten (63 percent) photographers express interest in built-in editing apps on cameras, indicating an opening for more interactive camera options.

“The future of the digital imaging marketplace lies in connectivity and cameras with multiple features such as in-camera editing and printing,” Ely said. “Camera manufacturers who create or market multi-purpose cameras that have a quality advantage over smartphones and include more compelling features over basic point-and-shoots will be well positioned to meet the needs of today’s consumer.”

Use of smartphones for digital imaging has nearly doubled from three years ago. Half of online adult U.S. photographers (50 percent) use smartphones to capture images, whereas only 28 percent did so in 2009.

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