Why CVS and Walmart still print photos

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While most photos don’t exceed the limits of a smartphone, CVS (CVS), Walgreens (WBA), Walmart (Wmt)Albertsons and other chains still offer photo printing, greeting cards, books, film processing and other services.

Who needs to print photos? Well, there is still some customer demand: photo services bring traffic to these retail stores, especially during the holidays, graduations and wedding seasons.

More than 50% of photo prints made this year came from retail stores, totaling $786 million in sales, said David Hauter, a longtime photo industry analyst and founder of consulting and market research firm Rise Above Research.

This year, 4.2 billion 4″ x 6″ prints will be produced in stores alone, he said.

“People aren’t printing as much as they used to, but there are still people who like to print,” Hauter says.

Kodak machines are still going strong at CVS.
Retro technology and old gadgets have staying power in part because they allow people to unplug from their fixed ping-pong devices.
Interest in Gen Z and thousands of film cameras has skyrocketed in recent years. Photography has become a popular pastime, with camera sales reportedly increasing on sites such as Etsy (ETSY) And Ebay (EBI). Disposable cameras have made a comeback with younger consumers, as celebrities like Chris Pine and Gigi Hadid have been spotted driving on demand.

Hauter said many consumers like to order photo prints and products at stores like CVS because they get the items right away with no shipping fees. They are often heading to these drug stores to pick up other things as well.

CVS offers photo services in 7,600 stores. “We continue to see high demand for this service – particularly during gift-giving seasons,” the spokesperson said.

More than 8,000 Walgreens stores offer photo services, said Raghu Vallata, Walgreens’ senior director of digital business strategy and planning. “The holidays tend to be a busy time for our photo businesses, with December generally seeing the highest foot traffic,” Valata said.

Although drug stores and other retailers put their photo services in stores, the answer is not for every business: Costco (Cost) And Target (TGT) They have nixed them in recent years. Costco closed photo centers at all of its nearly 800 stores last year, telling customers that “the continued decline in printing no longer requires on-site photo printing” and that “digital technologies are allowing consumers to do more with their photos.”

But in contrast to Walmart, about 3,700 stores have Fujifilm photo kiosks — typically located in the electronics section of the store and often used.

“It’s a service that customers use regularly, including people who don’t have access to a computer to order prints online,” a Walmart spokesperson said. We expect healthy business throughout the year.

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