In 2003, just under half of U.S. households (48 percent) bought picture frames, a slight decline from the 52 percent found in 2001. With more people buying digital cameras and thus having new pictures to display in their homes and offices, the picture frame industry has responded by offering new designs in frames that add visual interest and contribute to the overall presentation. Appreciative consumers are spending more on picture frames as a result.
Gift picture frames, intended to frame snapshots and smaller pictures and sold mainly in gift shops and gift departments of department stores and mass merchants, represented over a $1.3 billion market in 2002. Sales of gift picture frames have remained steady since 2000, according to Unity Marketing's Gifts and Decorative Accents Report, 2003 (see Figure 8.19).
% CHG '00-'02
Retail Sales in millions
Source: Unity Marketing, Gifts and Decorative Accents Report, 2003
Ubiquitous at retail, picture frames are found in mass merchants, traditional department stores, housewares and home furnishings stores, gift stores, and in many of the nation's 4,500 specialty photography stores. But the places where the majority of shoppers (50 percent) turn to buy new frames are discount department stores. For example, WalMart's photo-finishing department offers to enlarge one the shopper's photographs and put it in a special frame for one low packaged price. Traditional department stores are the next most widely shopped source, selected by 34 percent of shoppers.
Who doesn't have pictures of family and friends displayed on their mantel, end tables, or book shelves? Picture frames satisfy a universal need for people to create personal mementos and remembrances. This makes picture frames a popular gift item, presented to remember life events, as one consumer said: "I think they make great gifts. I've done this with wedding gifts. I'll get a silver photo album and have their name put on it."
Until fairly recently, the focus of picture frame manufacturers was to simply "frame" a picture, with the picture being the center of attention. However, a few years ago, picture frame companies discovered that the frame itself could add interest to the display and they started to offer more fashionable, stylized frames. Consumers gobbled them up as they found that distinctive frames added value to their prized and cherished pictures.
Young women are the most likely shoppers to buy picture frames. Some 53 percent of women purchased frames in the past year, compared to 44 percent of men, showing that women take the lead in purchasing frames for their homes. Purchase incidence is highest among the most youthful households, aged 18 to 34. However, purchase incidence remains strong among ages 35 to 64, and drops sharply after age 65.
Rising income relates to rising picture frame purchasing incidence, with purchasing highest among households with incomes of $50,000 and above. The presence of children in the home has a significant impact on the purchase incidence of picture frames, with only 43 percent of households without children purchasing, compared to 57 percent of those with children. Having three or more people living in the home also relates to increased picture frame purchase.
Purchasers are more likely to be female.
Purchase incidence rises with rising income, with households of $50,000 and above being the most active.
Households with children and those with three or more members buy more.
Younger households aged 18 to 34 buy more.