I got a copy of Scrapbook Business Magazine today and in just glancing through it, I saw an article that referenced Google Trends. I hadn't really looked at the trends data before although I knew it was there. So, I went and googled a couple of key phrases pertaining to our industry. It was very enlightening.
The bottom chart shows the trend of a search for scrapbook, and scrapbooking. They virtually follow each other as Google searches. The top chart is a trend of a search of the words "photo books" and "digital scrapbooking". They, too, are virtually the same line.
But, the biggest surprise is the direction the lines on the chart are trending. Actually, it's not a surprise to those who know the industry, it's just interesting to see it actually charted out that way.
I'm not one of the "sky is falling" industry people. The industry is experiencing some issues right now, but I refuse to say it's on the decline or it's dying as some are saying. What I believe is happening is that we are reaping what we sowed in the way of marketing efforts in the late 1990's. We mistakenly thought the ride would never slow down. We went from a roller coaster to a donkey cart in the space of about 8 years. We didn't market much and now it's hurting us. We're still trudging forward, but much more slowly now. The important part is that I believe we can fix it... if we will.
Contrast that with the search for photo books and digital scrapbooking. Can we afford to, as an industry, say, "that's not for us"? I don't think so. The question is "how" can we get in on that? I've commented on some ideas before - slide scanning, photo scanning, photo books and gifts, etc. are all ways retailers can jump onto the new roller coaster. Again... if we will.
The other factoid I gleaned from these charts is that photo books and digital scrapbooking are extremely seasonal. Look at the spike at the end of every year on the top chart - people are making photo books for Christmas. Then, contrast that with the dip in scrapbook searches at the end of every year. Wouldn't you love to pick up a revenue spike in December when scrapbookers are less likely to purchase supplies? If you want an even bigger eye opener, look at this graph for photo gifts. There is a spike around Mother's Day and Father's Day and another around the Holidays. Once again, who doesn't love a regular spike in business?
So, therefore, what? That's up to each scrapbook business. But, it makes sense to be at least looking at digital scrapping options. It may not be for every business, but it may make sense for many. We can't ignore the trends. We need to bump our line back to an upward swing, or get on the graph of a trend that's already swinging up. The choice is ours - individually and collectively.
Traditional scrapping will never go away, but neither will digital scrapping and photo books. Something to consider...