Investigating the Future of Brick and Mortar Photography Stores

What is happening to physical photography stores in the age of online shopping? U.K. Amateur Photographer magazine news editor Chris Cheesman went out to investigate and came back with some interesting points.

Photographers love equipment and they love trying it and holding it in their hands before they buy it. They also love talking to professional sale people who knows what they are talking about and give solid advice. For years dedicated photography stores such as B&H and Adorama in the U.S. and their counterparts in the U.K. and across Europe served the photographic community of both professional and amateurs, however in recent years people prefer more and more to buy online – where prices are in many cases lower.

Besides the increase of competition from online stores such as Amazon and e-bay, the industry as a whole had to face a very steep decline in sales. As we reported recently, in 2013 there was a dramatic drop in sales of cameras across the world of about 50% with a pretty steep decline even in DSLR and lenses which have been less influenced by the mobile revolution (smartphones have literally destroyed most of the compact camera market in recent years).

What happened to the photography industry in 2013 – a LensVid Special


In the past year we have seen several photography stores and chains closing down both in Europe and in the U.S. and this trend will probably continue. Unless physical stores will find a way to compete with online stores for prices they will find themselves out of business – a sad reality since photographers want and need the option to try gear before they buy and get professional advice from people who live and breathe photography. The conclusion reached by Cheesman in this video is that unless physical stores will adopt the web and in particular click and collect strategy – they will face potential extinction in the near future.

More on the photography industry you can find on LensVid’s special photo-industry section.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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