The Multi-device Photo World –
An Ecosystem in Flux

Today’s photography ecosystem is a complex one involving digital cameras, smartphones, tablets, and computers. Photo-taking consumers make pragmatic decisions about which of their devices to best use for specific tasks – such as taking photos, editing photos, sharing photos, or ordering photo products – under specific conditions. As these choices evolve, they change the “balance of power” between devices, with dramatic economic consequences for the market actors.

To benchmark the current state of that “balance” Suite 48 Analytics, the leading research and analysis firm for the mobile photography market, surveyed 1,000 North American consumers to find out which devices today’s photo-taking consumers now use for specific photo tasks, as well as how and why their photo-focused use of digital cameras, smartphones, tablets and computers has changed over the last six months. 

The study found that, for the first time since Suite 48 Analytics started tracking the market, the majority of today’s photo-taking smartphone customers – those who’ve taken at least 10 photos in the last three months – now use only their smartphone to take photos. 

Specifically, 58% of these customers take photos exclusively with their smartphone, compared to just 37% of the respondents who did so in a study conducted by Suite 48 Analytics just 18 months ago, a dramatic increase of 57%. 33% of the respondents use both their smartphone and their digital camera, and 5% regularly take photos with their tablet as well as their smartphone and digital camera.

According to Hans Hartman, president of Suite 48 Analytics and lead author of the report, “With smartphone market penetration still growing and camera optics and photo apps still improving, smartphones are rapidly becoming the most used device for many photo tasks, including taking photos. But today’s active photo-taker doesn’t use their smartphone at any cost. For instance, many prefer to take photos with their digital camera at ‘high volume’ occasions or to edit their photos on a computer rather than doing this on a smartphone.

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The Multi-device Photo World – An Ecosystem in Flux report includes 62 graphs and 4 tables. 


  • Devices for taking photos

  • Taking Photos

  • Viewing Photos Over Time (transient vs. permanent photos)

  • Editing Photos

  • Sharing Photos

  • Ordering Photo Products

  • Improving Photo Apps

Publication date:
July 2013