Getting personal

Industry experts say growth in the photo department will come from personalized products. “The photo category of the future is in user-generated content,” said Steve Giordano Jr., president of Lucidiom. “Customers should be able to go into a drug store and purchase personalized invitations, banners and thank you notes for a party.”

Retailers, Giordano said, have to go deep in the category to be competitive. That means offering everything from invitations and sticky notes to photobooks.

Photobooks have shown annual gains of about 8%. “Photobooks take some creativity to produce, and they are not a 4x6 replacement,” said Gary Pageau, a spokesman for the Photo Marketing Association. “The model of standing at a kiosk for a long time is under challenge, so software that makes it easier to produce a great-looking photobook [will drive growth in the future].”

Greeting card applications are a promising area of growth for photo processing. Folded greeting card sales were up 35% at Lucidiom. Customized greeting cards often sell for less than the traditional cards in the greeting card aisle, but the industry hasn’t done a good job of communicating that to consumers.

Online order/retail pickup is growing 8% per year. The ability to access photos on Facebook has provided some growth to kiosk printing. “Images [on] Facebook can now be accessed at many 
kiosks, providing ... another source of images,” Pageau said.

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