Originally Posted by foc
Correlates with the observations here in my town.
Lot's of local photo shops here had to give up during the period 2000 - 2006. But not only because of the digital flood, but also (probably mainly) because of the very strong competition of the new online distributors.
For the last years the number of the remaining shops is quite stable. They've found their strategies and niches to survive.
And one strategy is indeed offering quality prints:
Talked about that two years ago with the owner of my preferred local shop here. He told me that their in house Fuji Frontier minilab, and offering higher quality prints (with significant better quality than the prints from the mass labs / drug store chains) saved their business.
The customers appreciate the higher quality and are willing to pay more for it. Both the film and digital photographers.
And at the Photokina there was quite a few talks about seeing a little trend back to printed images.
The biggest European photofinisher / mass lab, CEWE Color, has reported slightly increasing numbers of prints (RA-4) in their latest quarterly reports (increasing numbers especially from digital files).