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Image is Everything: Younger Millennials Lead U.S. Trend of Taking More Photos

Arlington, VA – October 19, 2017 – 
Younger Millennials (ages 18-24) now take more photos than any other age group in the United States - averaging 439 photos every six months, according to new research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). The study, Focus on Digital Imaging Industry Drivers: Apps, Outputs and Storage, also shows that among the 81 percent of Americans who take photos and use apps, more than half (53 percent) have used a dedicated digital imaging (DI) tool or service app such photo editing, management, output or kiosk services.

   "Consumer technology innovations make it easier and more fun than ever to take and share photos - and we're doing exactly that in record numbers," said Steve Koenig, senior director, market research, CTA. "Riding the wave of social media, the growing popularity and functionality of DI apps mean more and more of us are also sharing and personalizing our photos. It's no surprise that Teens and Millennials are the most likely to do so, but almost 90 percent of all consumers are now taking photos - a significant jump over the last several years - and more than 80 percent of them have used apps to help edit and share them."

   Overall, Millennials (ages 18-34) are taking 12 percent more photos than they did just four years ago. CTA ties the jump in photo-taking to overall increased use and technological advancement of smartphones for DI activities - 86 percent of consumers now use their smartphones for DI, a 26 percent increase since 2015. According to the study:
  • Across all age groups, 84 percent of U.S. consumers have taken a photo in the last six months, and 56 percent have recorded a video in that timeframe
  • While younger Millennials average the most photos, Teens (ages 14-17) and older Millennials (ages 18-34) are close behind - both average 398 photos taken in the last six months
  • Teens take the most videos, an average of 97 over the last six months
  • Across all age groups, the average number of videos taken in the last six months is 56
   The five apps most frequently used by photo takers all involve social media. Among adults, 86 percent have used Facebook, followed by YouTube (71 percent), Instagram (47 percent), Twitter (41 percent) and Pinterest (39 percent). Among teens, 90 percent have used YouTube, followed by Snapchat (79 percent), Instagram (77 percent), Facebook (70 percent) and Twitter (50 percent).

   "While it's not surprising that we continue to see an increase in photo capture and share, we are also seeing an increase in photo-based creative output," said John Boris, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Shutterfly; and chairman of CTA's Digital Imaging Division. "The study shows that 62 percent of teens and adults have printed or ordered photo-based products in the past 12 months. This is up from 57 percent just two years ago. For companies like Shutterfly that enable people to transform their photos into lasting memories by creating personalized photo products, it is further validation that capture, share and creation go hand-in-hand to meet the consumer's evolving photo needs."

   CTA's study finds that although saving photos to the cloud is the third-most frequently used photo storage method among all consumers, the cloud is the most preferred storage method for older Millennials and young Gen-Xers (ages 25-44). Across all age groups, smartphones are the most frequently used devices for DI output activities - almost half of consumers (45 percent) order or print DI outputs from their smartphone "most" or "all the time." Also, two-thirds of photo takers (62 percent) plan to print or order DI outputs within the next year.

   The report described herein was designed and formulated by CTA. It represents the findings of a quantitative study administered via internet web form to an online national sample of 1,500 U.S. adults and 500 U.S. teens ages 14-17. The study was administered between May 11 and May 19, 2017. The full report is available for purchase at

   CTA's 19th Annual Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study reports smartphones are in 80 percent of U.S. homes - a six percentage point increase year-over-year (YOY) - and U.S. consumers now own 27 million more smartphones than they did in 2016.

   CTA's semi-annual U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts industry report projects sales of 360-degree cameras (407,000 units - a 216 percent YOY increase) and action camcorders (2.6 million units) will hit record levels in 2017.