Smartphone photographers
are turning to print

Study shows that photo print apps attract new customers but app distribution challenges require innovative partnership

Smartphone apps that print photos are doing more than delivering an increasing share of print vendors’ revenues: they’re also attracting new customers who haven’t previously engaged in printing, according to the just-published Photo Output App Market study by Suite 48 Analytics. Prime examples include: 

Over 20% of Snapfish’ mobile app customers are new to Snapfish

Over 50% of major European photo product vendor CeWe’s first-time mobile purchasers are new customers

This new trend upends the conventional wisdom that smartphone photographers are only interested in sharing digital photos through social network or messaging platforms, and are therefore not a potential market for printed photo products such as photo prints, photobooks, photo postcards, or photo-enriched phone cases.

However, photo printing app developers remain challenged to generate awareness and sizable download numbers for their apps. According to the study, which analyzed 137 photo product apps, the apps’ median downloads to date are only 62,000 and just 20% of the apps have been downloaded more than 500,000 times. By comparison, even today’s 100th ranked photo category app in the US iOS app store has had more than 1 million downloads.


“Many smartphone photographers clearly want the ability to order photo products on occasion. However, for many these occasions aren’t frequent enough to warrant downloading and installing a dedicated app,” said Hans Hartman, author of the report. 

“In fact, smartphone photographers might not even be aware that they can order output products unless the feature is visible someplace where they frequently engage with their photos, such as in an app for image enhancement or one for photo organization. The win/win here, for both customers and vendors, is migrating the print function from being a product to being a feature. How we get there from here will be a key topic at this year’s Mobile Photo Connect conference on September 29”.


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Standard License is a single user license and counts 60 pages.

Premium License is a site license for guilt-free sharing with colleagues and counts 70 pages.
Bonus extra: listings with app store links for all 137 analyzed photo output apps.

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-- Click here for the Photo Output Product Survey Report instead --

NEW: updated version Sept. 2015 with descriptions for the following mobile output offerings: Kite, PRYYNT, Kodak Moments, Pictyear, Canvsly, Snapt’chure, Shutterfly Trippix, Nowvel, Snapcam, Photo Magic, Resnap, and Chatbooks.  

New version also includes updates for Kindred, Snapfish, Photobox, CleverCards, iFolor, Walgreens, and

The Photo Output App Market report consists of 14 charts and 12 tables and addresses the following topics:

  • The photo product categories offered

  • The most downloaded apps

  • The multi-product apps

  • The single product apps –

  • The single product apps –

  • The single product apps –

  • The free apps

  • The highly rated apps

  • The acquired apps

  • The B2B mobile photo output landscape

  • The B2B integration supply chain

  • The B2B output product categories

  • Native apps vs. responsive web design

  • B2B integration considerations for photo app developers

Publication date:
First edition: March 2015;
Second edition: September 2015