December 4, 2018
December 4, 2018

Zoom Out: How Cameras Became The Focal Point of Today's Mobile Lifestyle

A new study from Audience Theory Research commissioned by Snap Inc. outlines the evolution of the camera and the rise of visual communication
The camera has been iterated on for over a hundred years. With the proliferation of smartphones (and the cameras that come with them), there’s been a fundamental change in our relationship with camera technology.
Before cameras became the easy-to-use devices they are today, they took shape in the form of expensive, bulky, professional-use only devices that required extensive time, money, expertise, and effort to operate. Even if one wasn’t behind the camera, it took nearly 15 minutes to pose for a single photo.  
Cameras started requiring less and less expertise to use, and it became even easier to pose for photos. What was once a 15-minute process now takes less than one second.
The latest in the camera’s progression — the introduction of the smartphone — marks a remarkable milestone in its history. Not only did the introduction of the smartphone put the internet in our pockets, it transformed the way we communicate with one another. Mobile created a multi-trillion dollar industry, a whole new set of user behaviors, and forever changed our relationship with technology.
  • As of 2018, 77% of US adults own a smartphone1, and for adults 18-29, that number climbs to 94%2
  • 100% of smartphone users use a smartphone camera3, taking 20 photos a week, on average1. More than 1 Trillion digital photos were taken in 2017, the majority of which were taken on a smartphone2
  • Today, over 85% of smartphone users don’t own or rarely / never use a digital camera5
Today, half of photos are taken on in-app cameras3. Of the photos taken on an in-app camera, nearly half are taken on Snapchat3

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1Source: United Stats; Pew Research Center; 2011 to 2018; Adults 18+ via Statista
2Source: United States; Pew Research Center; Jan 3 - 10, 2018; Adults 18+ via Statista
3Source: 2018 Audience Theory Study commissioned by Snap Inc.; Sample Size N=1003 US smartphone users A13-34 with social media engagement
4Source: United Stats; Pew Research Center; 2011 to 2018; Adults 18+ via Statista
5Source: The Rise of Mobile Phones for Photos, Mylio, Dec 2016