As we get ready to head off for Fall PMA in San Diego or SGIA in New Orleans, we also enter the all important fourth quarter of the business cycle. And when we think about this time of year one of the first things that comes to mind is holiday sales and the finishing counter. As a photo lab owner, catering to picture-taking families, you probably have stories about beaming parents coming in all the time, dropping off media and film and requesting reprints for the grandfolks. But just don't stop with making prints, offer them more. What about offering your customers a photo calendar or greeting cards? How about some photo buttons? How about a nice photo ornament to trim the tree? Wouldn’t the little one look great on a mug? Take that extra step toward increasing your profits by stocking your counters and shelves with some neat “impulsive” photo accessories. Don’t know where to begin? We do. Turn to page 26 and let’s go shopping.
The numbers continue to show that printing at retail is picking up. Although sales of photo kiosks and digital minilabs were down slightly in 2004, the number of people printing at retail is up, driving further growth in retail digital print volumes according to a recent InfoTrends study. 2004 represented a gap year in terms of equipment sales, as the market absorbed the heavy installations in 2003 when major chain photofinishers sought to equip all their stores with digital labs and photo kiosks. Nevertheless, growth is up again in 2005, as many of the mid- and low-volume retailers that were not quite ready to invest in new hardware during 2004 are now coming on board.
According to InfoTrends new forecast report, sales of photo kiosks are projected to grow by 9% in 2005. Some retailers are beginning to outfit their stores with more than one kiosk to avoid lines and long waits for customers. Meanwhile, digital minilab sales are also expected to demonstrate growth over the five-year forecast period, fueled by replacement sales, decreased prices, and new innovations.
Consumers are clearly responding to advertising ventures that are designed to drive them back to the store for prints. InfoTrends reports that only 14% of digital camera owners who printed photos had ever made prints at a retail location in 2003. This figure increased to 33% in 2004. They forecast that 26% of total digital photo prints will be produced at retail in 2005, up from 19% in 2004. Check out page 24 and see how a number of retailers are getting creative with their digital print services.
In this issue we also look at growing trends in the wide-format business with our annual wide-format roundtable. We also reveal the results of a readership poll conducted by I.T. Strategies. Key among the findings was that more than 2/3 of our readers expect that the percentage of their business from wide-format inkjet printers will increase. Did you hear that wide-format printer manufacturers?