Walmart, Target, and Michaels no longer devote huge areas of their stores to scrapbooking and many specialty retailers have gone out of business entirely. According to Google Trends, search volume for scrapbooking and scrapbook has declined 70 percent since its peak in 2005-2006, with an additional decline of 5 percent projected for this year.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg describes the motivations behind purchases and the reason purchasing decisions change. It also provides a good explanation as to why scrapbooking has declined so precipitously over the last several years.
Basically, all habits start with a cue, continue with an action, and then end with a reward. For scrapbooking, the cue was a stack of 4×6 prints (preferably a large stack of double prints), the action was purchasing and completing a scrapbook, and the reward was the finished book.
With digital cameras, the traditional cue is missing. Prints are no longer a consequence of pressing the shutter, and the average person is just not bothered by an array of files stored on a memory card or hard disk somewhere. Out of sight is truly out of mind.
I don’t know what the solution to this problem is, but I do know that Shutterfly, Snapfish, and others will need to develop an effective cue for memory preservation to succeed in the digital age.