Winning the unique photo gifts market: Spingold & Printbox

September 2, 2021

Is the photo printing market only for prints and photo books? If you think so, you are wrong! 

Photo printing companies can set out to conquer the global market of personalized gifts, which will exceed $38.66 billion in 2027. The growth in the segment of custom photo gifts is projected to reach a CAGR of 8.8% in 2020-2027. For this reason, businesses are trying to outdo each other in ideas to stand out from the crowd. Some offers are really unusual! 

When is the hot season for photo gifts? Who is the target for unusual photo products? What editor features are the most crucial in designing custom photo gifts? 

The special guest of the article is Ed Oakes, the founder of Spingold Design & Print. We will discuss how Printbox supports his brand in winning the UK market through custom photo playing cards

More than a gift 

People all over the world are obsessed with personalized presents. A customized gift strengthens a personal connection and celebrates an emotional bond with the recipient. 

The boom of e-commerce and technological innovations in design and manufacturing influenced the development of the personalized photo gift industry. Clients can customize many unique products with images and personal messages. They are able to check live previews, prices and order anytime, right from the couch! 

We’ve already written about a few unique photo product ideas from our clients here, and now we would like to delve into the characteristics of the market. 


By analyzing the search data and the number of orders, the conclusion is that the photo gift season falls from October to January.  

In Printbox, the number of projects was 144% greater during the season than the average amount of projects in the gifts category (based on data from 2020). Notably, over 30% of all users, who entered the Printbox editor to design a photo gift in January, completed a purchase. 

The growing demand directly contributes to the increased sale of personalized photo gifts during special occasions and seasons: 

  • Christian holidays: Christmas, Easter 
  • Jewish holidays: Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah 
  • Muslim holidays: Eid Al-Fitr, EId-Al-Adha 
  • Mother’s Day & Father’s Day 
  • Grandparent’s Day 
  • Valentine’s Day 

This also includes personal celebrations such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, births, graduations, Bat & Bar Mitzvahs, retirement, and many more. This causes the demand for personalized gifts is over the whole year. 

Read more about seasonality of photo products here


According to GlobalData’s All year gifting report, people under 35 are more likely to personalize a gift than older consumers. 

Source: Retail Insight Network 

The Facebook advertising analytics also provides valuable insight. Thanks to it, we can find out that the “Personalized Gifts” interest has over 3.8 million audiences on this social channel. Among them, 83% are women, and 17% are men. The dominant age of recipients is 25-34, and they accounted for 40.93%. 

Our market observations and results of working with clients have helped us distinguish recipients particularly interested in custom photo gifts. Here are some of them: 


Currently, the parenting market depends on the consumer habits of the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s. Millennial moms and dads have fewer children and start a family once they achieve a stable financial situation. As a result, modern parents have a higher disposable income for family needs compared to previous generations. 

However, parents perceive personalized photo products not only as children’s items. Photo presents are also an excellent idea for gifting new grandparents or siblings, uncles and aunts. This creates enormous profit opportunities for producers and distributors.  

To find out more about selling photo products to parents, click here

Pet owners 

The personalized pet products market is a niche that really can’t be considered “small”. Deloitte research has shown that pet merchandise is one of the top gift-giving categories in the holiday season when people plan to spend an average of $90

The product range includes personalized pet clothes, bowls, feeding mats, and much more. In addition, the market contains all personalized photo gadgets and accessories that pet owners are receiving from their relatives and friends. Blankets, mugs, or key rings with a picture of a dog or cat are gifts that will win the heart of many pet owners. 

People enjoying socializing 

Personalized party favors, unique party gifts, and custom supplies are sales hits that make any celebration more fun and exciting.  

In recent years, there has been a return to the popularity of classic board and card games. Personalized gameplay elements add some spice to friendly competition and tend to recall funny personal stories.  

Printbox customers also include distributors of photo puzzles, custom card games, and board games. Thanks to our dedicated editors, customers can offer their audience products that are a real treat in the world of entertainment! 

Best software for custom photo gifts – features 

When deciding to sell personalized gifts, you should first look for the right software vendor. Thanks to this, you will be sure that your customers will enjoy a great user experience while designing their products. 

Agnieszka Sadowska, Chief Customer Officer at Printbox, has prepared a list of crucial functions that software for custom photo gifts should include


Skin is a visualization for end-user how the final product will look like. This is a special kind of project preview, as it is displayed as a physical item. For this reason, it is perfect for designing photo gifts. 

Here are some examples that we’ve collected from our clients: 

  1. A skin for personalized photo clocks
An example of a skin for personalized photo clocks.

2. A skin for photo crystal rock

An example of a skin for photo crystal rock.

3. A skin for custom poker chip

An example of a skin for custom poker chip.

Dedicated buying paths 

Standard e-commerce platforms don’t meet the needs of the personalized product market, and manual adjustments are difficult to handle. Therefore, it is better to choose a software provider that offers specific shopping paths, dedicated to photo gifts

For example, in Printbox we use the following sequence: 

landing page  product list  product card  editor 

Each of the steps has three primary functions: 

  • provide excellent user experience to encourage customers to continue the purchasing process 
  • give the possibility to choose the attributes of the product 
  • support SEO goals. 

To find out more about configurable shopping paths for photo products, click here to go to the following article. 

Choose simplicity and intuitiveness 

Creating custom gifts should be as fun and easy as a piece of cake. All users should do is choosing their favorite product design, upload photos, put them on the design with drag & drop and enjoy the effect.

There is no need for complex editing functions that can overwhelm the user. However, pay attention to elements such as the clip art library and the photo quality warning. Such features can be decisive when it comes to customer satisfaction with the final product.

The Spingold story – custom playing cards in the UK market 

Among Printbox customers from all over the world, there are companies that offer a variety of personalized photo products. One of the most unique examples is Spingold, which is conquering the British market with its photo playing cards offer. 

How it begins 

Printbox: Hi Ed, we’re glad to have you here today! Could you briefly tell us how Spingold was established and what story stands behind this business concept? 

Ed Oakes: I have been present in the printing industry for 25 years. During this time, I have successfully run my business. However, the moment came that I wanted to focus primarily on the niche of playing & game cards for the consumer market. I also wanted to start selling online. For this reason, I established Spingold, with its own brand, The company has been operating for three years. 

Why photo playing cards?  

Printbox: Why did you decide to sell such unusual photo products, like playing cards or trump cards?  

Ed Oakes: Card games are still a smash-hit among many people around the world for entertainment or even business purposes. They are the perfect pastime during meeting with friends, enjoyment throughout long journeys, and a way to connect generations in having fun together. Personalized playing cards are also a popular gift for weddings, birthdays, or other anniversaries. 

My company has specialized in this field, as we have been printing these products for a decade now. It has taken us years to fine-tune our products to ensure the best quality of professional playing cards sold on the market. However, we wanted to start selling personalized items to the consumers and home market using online platforms, and that’s why we chose Printbox. 

Cooperation with Printbox 

Printbox: How our cooperation began and why did you choose Printbox? 

Ed Oakes: I found out about Printbox in 2018 when I attended the HP Dscoop Event in Vienna. I became interested in the technological and business opportunities you offer, so I made an appointment. I was very impressed with the software and felt it could fit to selling our cards. 

Printbox: How did the implementation of Printbox affect the sales results of Spingold? 

Ed Oakes: The implementation work ended in November 2018. Since then, there has been a significant increase in sales year on year, reaching 400% in one of the months. 

Printbox: What are your feelings about the collaboration so far? Are you satisfied with Printbox services? 

Ed Oakes: Printbox, both as a company and the people behind it, are first-class partners. It’s been a pleasure working with you guys. We still have some ideas that we would like to implement with your software. I hope you will continue to develop it as we can do many more great projects together! 

Printbox: Thank you for the interview, Ed! 

Wrapping up 

The personalized gifts industry is undoubtedly a diversified market, and that’s why no two business models are the same there. New players, technological innovations, and changing consumer habits have significantly influenced the branch. Nevertheless, the future potential of the online photo gift industry seems strong. 

Do you want to learn more about the Printbox offer, which provides advanced software dedicated to photo products? Try our demo or contact us

Content & Communication Manager in Printbox. She has over 5 years of experience in communication activities in social media, supporting the marketing team in PR activities, research, and expert content creation. In her spare time, she listens to true crime podcasts and takes long walks around Krakow.