Since 2020, the online photo album market has experienced significant growth, fueled by Italians' increasing penchant for using smartphones as their primary photography devices, with Italians taking an estimated 50 photos per month. The demand surged notably during the Covid-19 lockdown, with Cheerz reporting a spike in digital photo printing demand that jumped from +88% in March to +331% in April 2020 compared to the previous year. Despite the overall market being somewhat fragmented with a blend of specialized local companies and global players like Amazon and Google partaking, Italian domestic platforms like PhotoSì are amongst the most visited. While Italy accounts for a smaller share of the Western European market at an estimated €70 million, it lags behind larger markets like Germany.

The Italian e-commerce sector has expanded, reaching €31.6 billion, with a notable increase in online purchases via smartphones, accounting for 40% of total online shopping. The legal framework for online businesses is solidified by several EU directives and regulations ensuring consumer protection and data privacy. As for delivery, companies heavily rely on courier services like GLS, BRT, and UPS, with Poste Italiane offering inclusive services of packaging and delivery. Despite a vibrant market, Italy's e-commerce penetration remains below other key European markets, attributed to factors such as lower digital competency and a less developed Italian digital offer.

Revival and Growth in Italy’s Online Photo Album Market

The Italian online photo album market, despite being smaller in comparison to its Western European counterparts, presents an upward trend, particularly fueled by the increasing ubiquity of smartphones with high-quality cameras and a surge in photo-taking habits among Italians. An analysis of the trends reveals that Italians are not only embracing digital forms of photography but also rediscovering the charm of physical photo albums. Italians, who take an impressive average of around 50 photos per month, are shifting away from traditional cameras in favor of smartphones, with approximately 69% of the population preferring their mobile devices for capturing moments. This transition is guided by the prioritization of camera functionality in smartphones, a factor that holds significant sway for around 38% of Italians when selecting a new device. This penchant for smartphone photography has simultaneously contributed to a rekindled interest in photo printing, indicating a favorable environment for the online photo album market.

During the COVD-19 lockdown, the desire to hold onto cherished memories saw the demand for online photo albums soar, with an astonishing increase. This affirms the accelerated growth and appeal of the market during extraordinary times. Additionally, it was noticed that around 17% of photo album orders were intended as gifts, highlighting the emotional value and personal connection associated with these products. Financially, the market seems promising, albeit with room for growth. The estimated value of Italy's online photo album market stands at approximately €70 million, with a user base of around 2 million e-shoppers and an average photo album price of €35. Although marginal when set against the backdrop of the Western European market, there's a positive trajectory to be observed, indicating a market ripe with potential. In conclusion, the Italian online photo album market showcases a revival and an upward momentum, driven by digital advancements, cultural habits, and a revival of print photography. Despite its relatively small size, the potential for growth, underlined by the robust demand and cultural shift towards smartphone photography, suggests a vibrant future for this segment.

Key Players Shaping the Online Photo Album Market Landscape

The online photo album market is a vibrant space with several key players that have been instrumental in shaping the industry. Each company offers unique products and services, catering to a wide range of customer needs and preferences. Their presence and offerings have contributed significantly to the growth and diversity of the market.

National Champions with a Strong Local Presence

  • PhotoCity: A significant player in the Italian segment, PhotoCity has established itself with a strong local presence. They are known for providing customers a variety of personalized photo albums and related printing services, adhering to high-quality standards and offering user-friendly platforms for album creation. -
  • PhotoSì : As a leading specialist in the online photo service market, PhotoSì has carved out a substantial market share with its comprehensive range of customizable photo albums. Their service is marked by a focus on customer experience, where users have the autonomy to tailor the design and layout of their photo books. -
  • Ilfotoalbu : While Ilfotoalbum does not disclose its turnover, its reputation in the market is well-known. They offer a broad spectrum of options for photo albums, including various sizes, cover types, and paper qualities, allowing for high customization and personal touch in every creation.

International Giants with Expansive Reach

  • Photobox : An international heavyweight, Photobox commands a significant position globally, including in the Italian market. They provide a vast assortment of formats and customizations for photo albums, backed by a strong online platform that facilitates easy design and ordering processes. 
  • Pixum : Although not as large as Photobox, Pixum is another international player that has made its mark. They are noted for their focus on quality and the diverse options they provide for personalizing photo albums, catering to different occasions and customer preferences. 
  • Cheerz : With its comprehensive offering of digital printing solutions, including photo albums, Cheerz has secured a considerable foothold in the market. Their services are characterized by a seamless integration of mobile technology, allowing customers to easily design and order albums right from their smartphones.

Tech Giants Venturing into the Market - While not traditional participants in the photo album market, several technology giants have also ventured into this space: 

  • Amazon : With the launch of Amazon Prints, the e-commerce titan expanded its vast array of services to include photo printing, leveraging its extensive customer base and logistics prowess. -
  • Google : Through Google Photos, the search engine giant offered a printing service that highlights its technological edge and integration.
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  • Number of pages : 30 pages
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  • Last update : 02/10/2020
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Presentation and scope of the study

The online photo album market is a sub-segment of the photo album market. It refers to the various websites offering the possibility to create more or less standardized photo albums. Depending on the provider, the customer can choose the layout of the photos, the format of the photo album and the material used. The digital companies are then in charge of printing, binding and shipping the album to the customer.

The market is relatively fragmented and competition is relatively intense given the large number of players in the market. The market is made up of players specialising in this sector (such as Photosì), but the market has since been populated by larger players such as Amazon, Google or even historical players in the photography market.

Driven by the increased use of smartphones with ever higher quality cameras, Italians are taking an increasingly higher number of photos. According to a study by Nokia, Italians take an astonishing 50 photos per month, approximately. This trend has supported the growth of the market for online photo albums. Especially as a consequence of the quarantine during the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand has increased sharply, reaching 3 times the value of 2019.

However, the Italian market is still marginal compared to the global and Western Europeans markets. As a matter of fact, Italy is only 6th in terms of market size in Wester Europe, with Germany leading the European panorama. 

Furthermore, the offer is diversifying, from the creation of simple standardized photo albums to customized ones for which customers can chose most of the features, add decorations and captions to give it a more DIY feel. Furthermore, many players offer customers the opportunity to choose the platform on which they will build their photo album, which include websites, apps or dedicated softwares. 

1.2 A global market with high potential

The growth of online photo albums is largely due to the growth in online sales and the fact that this product is particularly suitable for this distribution. The freedom and flexibility that characterizes these products combined with the design potential, (***) are expected to stimulate market growth.

This graph shows the revenues ...

2.1 The Italian market lags behind other European countries

Consumer photo albums volume sales grew by *.*% to **.* million units in Western Europe * (***) in ****.  The European market of photo albums value, which includes online photo albums, rose by *.*% to €*** million.

Western European market size for photo albums Western Europe, ****-****, in million € & units Source: ****

The Italian market for online photo albums ...

2 Demand Analysis

2.1 Smartphones are taking the place of cameras

Italians are increasingly shifting away from the use of cameras, substituting them with smartphones to capture significant moments. According to a research carried out by eDreams, **% of Italians prefers to use their smartphones to take photos. As a matter of fact, the functionality of a smartphone for photos is the third ...

2.2 Italians' online shopping habits

The B*c eCommerce sector in Italy has grown by **% in ****, reaching a value of **.* billion euros in online purchases. Of these, the e-commerce of products represents the largest share, with **,*% and **.* billion euros, thanks to approximately *** million online orders. Within the e-commerce of products, the largest share is represented by ...

2.3 Covid-19 boosted the rediscovery of printed photo albums

During the lockdown induced by the Covid-** pandemic, Italians rediscovered the passion for photography as a tool to keep alive the memory of beautiful moments shared with family and friends. At a time when affection was far away, a major trend that emerged was the increase in the creation of online ...

3 Market structure

3.1 A fragmented market

The Ateco code **.**.** identifies laboratories for the development and printing of photos. This includes the more traditional businesses, which operate mostly offline and locally. Considering this broader market, it is According to Istat, in **** there were **** active companies, of which the large majority (***) were constituted by individual entrepreneurs, freelancers and self-employed ...

3.2 The importance of delivery services

A key part of the online photo album business is the delivery of the products to the end client. For this reason, analysing the different types of services offered by the couriers operating in Italy is fundamental to assess the profitability of the market. In Italy, one quarter of companies and ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 A diversified offer

Competition has led to a great diversity in supply. While album publishing software is often similar, the competition is in the form, printing method, number of pages, size and materials used. Furthermore, the photo album is available for different events (***), and it can be customized according to the customers' preferences. 

The ...

4.2 Production process

The production process for photo albums consists of several steps:

Online orders: The customers can select the size, cover type and paper materials of the photo album online via website or app. They can then upload the photos, choose the desired layout and add decorative elements. After they've chosen all the ...

5 Regulation

5.1 Regulations

The Italian law governing online business management is defined in a number of different regulations. Some of them are specific to online business, while others apply to all business activities. The main regulations are as follows:

The European Directive ****/**/EU consolidates existing consumer protection legislation, offering consumers a number of new ...

List of charts

  • Parts des différents produits dans les ventes du e-commerce
  • Différents types d'acheteurs en ligne
  • Appareils préférés pour les achats en ligne
  • Évolution de la demande d'albums photos en ligne
  • Ventes de téléphones par types d'appareil
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Cheerz - Cewe

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