Groovebook acquisition impacts Shutterfly’s Q1 financial results

groovebook— By Hans Hartman

The fact that Shutterfly just cranked out its 57th consecutive quarter of year-over-year net revenue growth (net revenues totaling $160M, a 17% year-over-year increase) would have been yawn-worthy if not for the fact that we’re now seeing the first full quarter impact of Shutterfly’s acquisition of Groovebook – in terms of order volume and average order value, if nothing else.

Groovebook is an inexpensive and subscription-based photobook creation app, popularized by their founders’ Shark Tank appearance. Shutterfly acquired the company last November for $14.5 Million. [There’s more about them in our The Photo Output App Market study].

Based on Groovebook’s impact on Shutterfly’s average order value (Shutterfly reports a 15% YOY decline, but only 4% when excluding the Groovebook sales), the app must have generated so many orders that it actually tilted Shutterfly’s companywide average order value.


Four things jump out when contemplating Groovebook:

  • Groovebook is there to stay. It is not a fad, catapulted through Shark Tank but since fizzled. Not only do their subscribed customers generate ongoing sales, the app also currently ranks among the top 200 US-downloaded iOS and Android photo apps – not stellar, but certainly better than most print output products that have been on the market for a while.
  • Groovebook is an app. Naysayers claiming that consumers don’t want to create and order multi-page photobooks on mobile devices: think twice. This app alone apparently can impact the average order value of a $1-billion dollar company.
  • Groovebook sells dirt-cheap photobooks. To be exact: $2.99 each, including shipping and handling. Shutterfly made a daring move acquiring such a low-priced and potentially cannibalizing product, apparently willing to take the risk of a declining average order value.
  • Groovebook is a subscription service. And this might be exactly why Shutterfly took this risk: Groovebook’s ongoing revenues and order volume help to smooth out Shutterfly’s seasonality. And that’s not a bad thing in the low season quarters, as we’ve just had with Q1. It also lowers their customer acquisition costs, assuming the customer churn is reasonably low.

We’ll keep a close look at how Shutterfly will manage further integration of Groovebook in its sales and marketing activities (Groovebook will remain under its own flag, we’ve been told), and how it will fair in the busier spring and summer seasons.

Hans Hartman is president of Suite 48 Analytics and chair of the Mobile Photo Connect conference.

Plenty of Picture Products & News #4

It’s a busy week in the photography biz. Here’s a fourth round-up of news and products covered around the Web.

procam 2

• ProCam 2 shows off Iphone manual camera controls

• Case carries APS-C sensor, f/2 lens to iPhone

• Canon tours Pixma Pro printers

• Adobe Revenue Forecast Misses, Shares Slip

• Sony reports losses in mobile


Sony CEO apologizes…

Sony Make.Believe Logo…Well, not to you: to shareholders.

Sony Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai “apologized to investors today after the maker of PlayStation consoles and Xperia smartphones projected a sixth loss in seven years,” BusinessWeek reports. “Sorry that we failed to meet shareholders’ expectations,” Hirai said at the company’s annual meeting in Tokyo. “We will bear responsibility to complete restructuring in fiscal 2014, with a strong sense of crisis and without further delay.”

Sony has lost $831 million since Hirai became CEO in 2012 and predicts another 50 billion-yen loss this year as he struggles to revive the television business.

The full article here focuses on the TV, movie-making, game console, phones, and other large Sony divisions. Cameras doesn’t get a mention, apart from noting, “When Hirai took over, he said Sony’s revival would be driven by mobile devices, games and imaging products.”

Ecce Terram reports high holiday sales

ecce terram

“After literally tens of thousands of orders we have looked at some interesting statistics,” says CEO Frank Simon.  “Ecce Terram is celebrating a record number of orders going through our SaaS Photo2lab Services.”

Mobile remains around 9 percent, with a big 2>1 lead by iOS over Android.

For orders from desktop clients, Mac OS X came up to 17 percent of all orders, compared to 15% as the annual average. 82 percent of orders were received from Windows clients. “We are also happy to note that our SaaS Key Accounts received a 6 percent increase in orders compared to past years,” Simon adds.

Ecce Terram provides software and workflow solutions for photo product design and output.

Olympus returning to Profitability?

olympus stylus1 hand

Will Olympus start making a profit on its camera sales again? Yes, the company forecasts, thanks primarily to mirrorless interchangeable lens models.

Bloomberg reports the company claiming annual sales of mirrorless models will rise to 1 million units, reaching 5 percent share of the global market — and about $68 million in operating profit.

Olympus has posted losses in two consecutive quarters. “With the camera industry’s revenue falling to the lowest level in a decade, amid surging smartphone sales, Nikon has cut prices to lure consumers,” Bloomberg adds. “The single-lens reflex camera market was 20 million units globally last year, according to data by Camera & Imaging Products Association. Olympus’s camera unit accounted for about 14 percent of the company’s total revenue last year and reported an operating loss of 2.7 billion yen in the six months ended Sept. 30.”


Canon cuts SLR camera sales forecast

Canon logoEveryone has long accepted that phone photography has cut into compact camera sales — but many hoped higher-end interchangeable lens models would continue to earn healthy revenues.

Now the leading camera maker Canon predicted its first drop in SLRs sales through December, down to 8 million from 8.2 million last year.

Prior to this, “the high-margin interchangeable-lens format favored by professional photographers and enthusiasts has seen growth every year up to 2012,” company officials said according to Reuters’ report. “Canon said it now sees sales of the digital interchangeable-lens format coming in 11 percent below its previous forecast of 9 million cameras, issued in July.”

Canon left its 2013 sales forecast for compact cameras unchanged at 14 million, against 18.3 million in 2012, Reuters adds. Worldwide camera shipments dropped 19 percent in value in August from the same time a year earlier, a ninth consecutive monthly decline, according to Japan’s Camera & Imaging Products Association.

Canon also cut its annual profit forecast. Net income will total about $2.5 billion for the year ending December, or down to 240 billion yen from its earlier forecast of 260. Canon also manufactures printers and medical equipment.

More information is here and here.


Nikon: Camera sales slump


“Pressured by the improving quality of smartphone cameras and the convenience of apps to share photos instantaneously,” The Wall Street Journal says, “camera demand is falling at an unprecedented pace.”

In the first six months of 2013, camera shipments are down 42.7 percent on year, according to the Camera and Imaging Products Association. There was a 15 percent fall in 2012.

At Nikon, net profit fell 72 percent in the last quarter due to the slump in the imaging division. The company, the second-largest camera maker, cites a steep slide in demand for compact and interchangeable-lens models, the Journal says, and cut its sales and profit outlook for the fiscal year to March.

The biggest declines have come from the entry-level, point-and-shoot models. Nikon is also seeing sales decline in SLRs, and notes the disappointing demand for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras as well.

Nikon cut its full-year sales estimates for interchangeable lens cameras by 8 percent to 6.55 million units, while slashing its compact digital camera forecasts by 18 percent to 11.5 million units from its earlier projections announced in May, the Journal reports.


Olympus says its mirrorfree camera sales were also falling short of its own projections. Losses at its camera business narrowed in the quarter to a net loss of ¥1.83 billion.

Reuters reports Olympus’ Pen sales fell 12 percent last quarter.

Photo books and more: Cewe Color growth continues


cewe books

It’s always good to be able to relay news on the success of a PMA member company: European photofinisher Cewe Color reports continued revenue growth of almost a half-million Euro EBIT — even in 1Q13, what it says is “typically the weakest quarter of the year,” when print sales are “just as difficult as selling ice cream in winter.”

The primary growth drivers were its photo books and new online printing operations, the company says — and that will continue through out the year: “In 2013, we are very likely to generate more than 90 percent of our earnings in the fourth quarter. The positive trend in the first quarter is special confirmation of our positive assessment for the current business year.”

Photo books in particular show “undiminished dynamism” Cewe adds, rising 5.6 percent to EUR 69.2 million.

Photo and online print service company Cewe Color has 13 production operations and a staff of around 3,300 employees in 24 European countries. The company says in 2012 it delivered around 2.5 billion prints, 5.6 million photo books, and photo gift products to more than 34,000 retail partners.

cewe 1q13


Canon misses estimates, stock drops


canon130The largest camera maker was the worst performer in the Nikkei 225 Index after, Bloomberg News reports, “after forecasting earnings below analyst estimates amid slumping demand for compact models.”

Canon’s stock fell as much as 5.7 percent, the biggest decline since July 26.

Net income will probably be 290 billion yen ($2.9 billion) in 2013, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement yesterday, missing the 308 billion-yen average of 20 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

For the quarter ended March 31, Canon reported a 34 percent decline in net income.

It cut its full-year sales target for compact cameras by 15 percent to 14.5 million units “as consumers increasingly use smartphones to snap shots,” Bloomberg adds (but projects interchangeable lens camera sales will be up 12 percent).

Global shipments of digital cameras almost halved to 4.26 million units in February from a year earlier, a 10th consecutive monthly decline, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association in Tokyo. Shipments of compact models were down 40 percent in the first two months of 2013 from a year earlier, while that for cameras with interchangeable lenses dropped 17 percent, according to the industry group.

Nikon’s stock also fell 2.3 percent to 2,197 yen. As analyst Thom Hogan put it, “Canon Sneezes, Nikon Gets Sick.” He notes that ‘Compact shipments plummeted in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the previous year. This is a disaster for most camera companies.” Canon and Nikon share nearly 90 percent of the SLR marketplace. “That’s important, because the dollar value for DSLR shipments in Q1 2013 exceeded the dollar value of all compact camera shipments,” Hogan says — so Canon and Nikon “are a bit more insulated from the compact camera collapse than the others.” However, he adds, “Nikon is more vulnerable than any of the other Japanese camera companies because it’s the only one that derives the majority of its sales from cameras.”


Olympus cuts profit forecast, expects camera loss

Olympus cut its operating profit forecast by 24 percent on an expected loss at its camera unit, BusinessWeek reports.

Operating profit will be $478 million in the year ending March; the camera unit is expected to report a loss of 8 billion yen in the current fiscal year, compared with its previous forecast of a 1 billion yen profit, as the compact camera market is shrinking, the Tokyo-based company said. “The compact camera market is shrinking rapidly because people are switching to smartphones.”

Olympus cut its full-year sales forecast for digital cameras by 11 percent to 7.3 million units.

The full report is here.