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 user 2005-02-27 at 9:41:00 am Views: 57
  • #10563

    Can the Snapshot Printer Segment Survive?

    With high
    print speeds, stellar resolutions, and unsurpassed print quality, consumer photo
    printing has dramatically changed over the past ten years. Today, inkjet photo
    print quality is so reminiscent of silver halide that it is nearly impossible to
    tell the difference between the two outputs. Today’s inkjet printers also have
    the ability to print on countless media types, enabling users to create endless
    projects and crafts tailored to their individual needs. Manufacturers have
    helped facilitate this creativity through the recent boom of the snapshot
    printer market. Now one of the hottest printing trends impacting customers and
    manufacturers, the dedicated 4”x6” snapshot printer combines low-cost mobility
    and high-quality output in an ultra-compact design for as little as $0.24 per
    photo. However, considering the many options available for purchasing digital
    prints and the constant photo quality battle between ink and silver halide,
    snapshot printer manufacturers must lower the cost of specialty ink/paper
    bundles to survive in the consumer marketplace.

    The all-important question manufacturers have surrounding the snapshot
    printer market is whether or not the niche is a fad. Snapshot printers offer the
    freedom to print whatever, whenever and wherever for a cost that rivals the
    online and retail photo printing. With the influx of new printer models,
    improved inks and photo papers, and increased marketing, the 2004 holiday sales
    were proof that consumers plan to invest heavily in digital photography–and
    have looked to the snapshot printer as the immediate solution. In the five weeks
    ending January 3, 2004, snapshot photo printers comprised 15% of all photo
    printers sold at sampled retailers, and just 7% when traditional inkjets are
    factored in. Just a year later, in the five weeks ending January 1, 2005,
    snapshot photo printer sales more than doubled to 37% of all photo printer sales
    and 22% of personal color printer sales.

    Epson’s success with its first snapshot printer, the PictureMate, is proof of
    the segment’s recent allure. During December 2004, Epson’s supplies and hardware
    sales exponentially increased due to the popularity of the PictureMate. The
    PictureMate, launched at Best Buy in April 2004 and exclusive to the retailer
    until mid-November, was the shining star of the holiday season, capturing the
    number one inkjet printer position in terms of total sales for the five-week
    period. The following graph illustrates the PictureMate’s market share of all
    photo printers, all snapshot printers and all inkjet printers during the
    five-week holiday period: