As 2019 begins, it’s time to look ahead at the trends impacting photo/imaging and marketing for the coming year. The world is changing so fast, we will be updating readers continually over the next 12 months!
It wasn’t too long ago where the photo industry was reeling with the introduction of the Millennials into the marketplace. Photo marketers had grown accustomed to dependable, print-oriented Baby Boomers, who were willing to pay a premium for brand names and service. Then came frugal, adaptable Millennials, who upended much social behavior by placing more importance on experiences than “things,” causing more than one adjustment in product planning and marketing.
Get ready, however, for Gen Z, the next cohort to begin entering adulthood. Born after 1995, Gen Z will account for 40% of all consumers by 2020, according to statistics at Fast Company. The college-age consumers has a distinctly different approach to marketing messages, especially as it relates to celebrity endorsements. Gen Z shoppers, especially in areas of fashion and tech, are paying attention to YouTube influencers far more than actors, singers and athletes pitching products. “Tech already depends on bloggers and YouTubers to explain, review and endorse their products. And while Nike relies heavily on celebrity endorsers like LeBron James and Serena Williams, they brand also pays homage to everyday people with its Dream Crazy campaign, encouraging everyday people to share their crazy dream,” according to Chuck McLeester, writing at Target Marketing.
It’s a long way from John Newcombe or Andre Agassi pitching Canon cameras!
One of the more reliable areas of the photo/imaging market has been archival photo or “shoebox” scanning. With literally trillions of hard-copy photos waiting to be digitized, it’s an on-going opportunity to activating by making them digital. Archival photo scanning touches on several opportunities for further services and output. Photo organizing, as espoused by the Association of Personal Photo Organizers, is a proven way to bring professional level service to a customer need. Family history and genealogy are of intense interest today, shown by the growth of DNA-testing services and sites like Ancestry.com; family history is inexorably connected to photos.
The latest craze is decluttering, as evidenced by the popularity of the new Netflix show, “Tidying up with Marie Kondo.” Consumers are coming across forgotten photo albums, and need ways to digitize them. Smart marketers will tie into this trend. Further, they are also coming across rolls of undeveloped film in which can still be processed and printed. Unfortunately, due to the age of some of these rolls, the final results may be lacking color or sharpness.
Our friends at Vivid-Pix note they are seeing good results from Vivid-Pix RESTORE , image-correction software for photos and documents (documents are a big part of family history), and recently users identified its ability to improve photos from out-dated film roll processing. Originally designed to correct faded photos, the software can restore a wide range of faded color, black-and-white, and sepia images. [Disclosure: Vivid-Pix is a Dead Pixels Society sponsor].
To the shock of uninformed tech writers, yes, people still print. A lot. And the reality, consumers have many opportunities to print their pictures on more surfaces and in more different ways than ever before. In the analog 35mm world, only 3% of photos were enlarged or reprinted, but today, people are printing more larger photos, on canvas, on metal, on wood, and more. The sheer opportunity is still very large for photo books and other personalized products, as well as the old standby, instant photography.
Instant photography, represented by Fujifilm Instax, Zink cameras and assorted mobile printers, are still selling strongly. Most of the cameras getting the attention at CES were Zink-based printer combos.
Best Buy, for example, frequently features Zink Printers, Fujifilm instant cameras and film on endcaps or with generous shelf space (shown at left). Yet, talking with some independent photo dealers, there seems to a reluctance to push them as hard.
If there’s one criticism I have regarding specialty retailers, it’s the belief they know all of their customers and what they do and don’t want to buy. Many specialty store retailers haven’t gone in much for Instax cameras because they don’t see a lot of teenage girls cross their threshold, or relegate them to online-only sales. It’s true, getting foot-traffic at brick-and-mortar stores is increasingly difficult, but there’s certainly demand for instant photography products, particularly with the broad range of product available. The hybrid Fujifilm Instax SQ10, in particular, should have strong appeal to older hobbyists who want more than just prints.
Here was the scene at a local Walmart during the holidays: