The photo-merchandise market (photo-calendars, wall décor, photo-cards and single image gifts) grew 11% in Western Europe last year, reaching €478 million at a time when the traditional photo print market is in decline.
Growth varies significantly by country and by product, with the fastest growing segment, canvas prints and other substrates experiencing more than 30% growth in most markets, though this is offset to some degree by a declining poster sales market. Calendars, photo-cards, and single-image gifts were the next largest markets, and photo greeting cards are forecast to witness the strongest growth through the forecast period out to 2016, driven by mobile applications and services.
Calendars remain a seasonal product, with more than 90% of sales recorded between October to January, typically the 12-page format with consumers usually buying two or more copies. Photo-cards, driven largely by the UK and Benelux, are dominated by folded cards but this segment also includes postcards and announcements, which tend to be popular in France. Christmas is a key driver for cards, with 50 to 60% of volumes purchased for this season.
Most of the orders originate online, with consumers still preferring to create their products at home. Of these orders, a negligible share was ordered via mobile devices. While consumers are increasingly viewing photo websites using their tablets and smartphones, the creation and ordering process is almost entirely carried out using a laptop or desktop PC.
Moving forward, non-PC devices including mobile devices and connected CE hardware are anticipated to drive growth. A growing number of mobile phone apps could make this easier and the mobile technology works well for single image products. The mobile market presents a huge opportunity, with the continually expanding smartphone and tablet installed base providing many access points for photo services, which could culminate in one-quarter of total online demand.
The photo-merchandise market in Western Europe remains localised and fragmented, with many local and national retailers and services playing a key role. Often specialising in one product segment, the mix of companies continues to shift with traditional photo brands still dominating, although commercial print houses and particularly photo-merchandise specialists such as PosterXXL, Moonpig, Planet Cards, Hello Canvas and Picanova are gaining share.
Futuresource Consulting is a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting company, providing organisations with insight into consumer electronics, digital imaging, entertainment media, broadcast, storage media, education technology and IT. With a heritage stretching back to the 1980s, the company delivers in-depth analysis and forecasts on a global scale, advising on strategic positioning, market trends, competitive forces and technological developments.
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