Photo printing through retail and online sources is expected to remain flat in 2010, however, growth prospects return in 2011. The main source of growth for retail and online printing businesses will be share gain against home printing methods as opposed to the total print market growing. Home printers are the most economical option for making large format prints and wallet-size prints. In addition, they are the source of production for about one-third of all prints made by digital camera owners.
The cost differential between retail/online and home printing options on premium size prints is just too high for consumers to ignore. Consumers continue to invest in home printers and make large prints at home as a result. According to the 2009 PMA Camera/Camcorder and Digital Imaging Survey, more than one-third of the photo prints made by consumers at home are premium-size prints. This is double the share of premium sizes made at retail and about 5 times the share of premium print formats ordered online.
The disproportionate premium put on large-format prints today stems from the old days, where just a fraction of consumers returned to stores to make large prints, and were willing to pay that premium. Retailers and online firms must realize that times have changed as there are a growing number of photo enthusiasts who are more likely to make large prints. Retailers must be competitive with home printing costs to ensure they do not lose a very lucrative segment of the customer market.