Press Centre

Memory alert: Billions of photos are at risk on phones, hard drives and memory sticks as photo printing declines

  • To help shoppers manage the risk, Asda offers cut-price instant in-store prints in kiosks

  • Asda also launches in-store Facebook photo printing service

With digital cameras and smart phones in such widespread usage, trillions of photos are now solely stored in digital form in Britain alone, according to Asda estimates. The first decade of the 21st century is the most recorded in human history but fewer than ever images of it appear in physical form.

Asda has seen a dramatic reduction in sales of traditional photo albums in the last five years, confirming the decline of photographic printing as consumers move away from film to digital photography.

Jeremy Stacey, Asda’s photo buyer said: “Since film cameras entered the dustbin of history most of us haven’t been making physical copies of the pictures that we take. In some situations, this might be OK, but if people aren’t backing up their hard drives, there’s a real risk that precious memories could be lost forever.”

An online poll of Asda customers points to a steep reduction in the number of prints of photos made in the last five years, with more than 70 percent saying that they have printed no photos whatsoever in the last five years. Shoppers cite the cost as the major factor for this decline.

Ninety-five percent of those polled store their photographs on a home computer but only a few said that they save their photographs to multiple locations, leaving themselves potentially exposed to data loss.

Part of the allure is the plummeting cost of memory. An 8GB memory stick at Asda now costs just £10.

To combat the risk to our photographic heritage Asda is slashing the cost of instant in-store photo prints by nearly a third to coincide with the end of the summer holidays from 35p per print to 25p. Printing in-store is substantially cheaper than printing on a colour printer at home. The in-store service is compatible with all main memory card formats to make the process as simple as possible.

Jeremy Stacey added: “Those moments that people saved hundreds and even thousands of pounds to experience on holiday were often captured on camera and 25p is a worthwhile investment to keep that memory safe.”

Asda is also expanding its photo print service with Facebook. The social media site already stores more than 100 billion images. The service is already used by thousands of customers and some place orders for up to 3,000 prints. The Asda Facebook service is the fastest growing part of Asda’s photo business, with some customers regularly placing orders for 1,000 prints or more. Customers can now print pictures from Facebook via Asda’s in-store photo booths.

The Facebook printing service is also popular with schools, which print thousands of photos as part of the process of keeping records of children’s development. The service is substantially cheaper than contract photography services.

Posted in Press Centre on 02 September 2011