Digital Printing

Growth in Digital Printing to Remain Strong until 2024.

In 2013, the digital print market was worth $120.9 billion in constant 2012 dollar values, or $131.0 billion in current dollar terms that take into account inflation and currency exchange rate fluctuations. This is the equivalent of 1.13 trillion A4 size prints manufactured by print-for-profit service providers and packaging converters. The total digital market will reach 225% of the 2013 value by 2024, according to a new market report by Smithers Pira.

The new market study, The Future of Digital Printing to 2024, examines the global digital print market until 2024. The report includes details of the key trends driving the industry as well as technology forecasts for the upcoming decade.

Digital print is growing because it allows print suppliers to improve the levels of service they offer to customers, as well as opening new opportunities and helping them to make money. Increasing versioning and personalisation helps make print more targeted to end users which is increasingly important as the digital world continues to become more and more connected. The maturing of Big Data with technology able to identify potentially valuable customers is a very powerful tool, and digital print will be used as a communication channel for this output. Digital print will also exploit many new opportunities for high value short runs and move increasingly into labels and packaging.

According to the report, electrophotography is the major contributor to the digital market. However, inkjet is the sector which is growing more rapidly. Inkjet is forecast to overtake electrophotography after 2019, and by 2024 inkjet will account for 56% of the value and 53% of the digital print volume.

Digital print is used in many diverse applications, and innovative print suppliers are developing new opportunities all the time. According to the report, there are some drawbacks of digital, which tend to be associated with unit cost and productivity. However, these limitations are becoming less of an issue as capabilities are is steadily increasing; inkjet is now able to deliver 8,000+ A4 prints per minute in the Timsons T-Press, the equivalent of 30,000 B1 duplex prints per hour. There is also less choice of paper and substrate stocks with digital printing, however more paper companies are now supplying suitable grades while some printers apply primers to their materials. Additional limitations exist in the colours that can be printed, although some equipment suppliers have introduced spot colour capability with metallic and some specialist fluorescent toner capability.

In terms of future forecasts, the report states that over the next ten years or so, the most dynamic area for change will be in the fields of packaging. Cartons, rigids, flexibles, metal and corrugated are sectors that will take up digital production methods. Future growth predictions for printed packaging are all positive with increases in volume and value, with no substitution for electronic versions.

Digital print is being used even beyond the graphics and packaging sectors. These applications include textiles, ceramic tiles, flat and round glass, decorative laminates, automotive applications, electronic and photovoltaic products, bio-medical and many other promotional/miscellaneous items.

The Future of Digital Printing to 2024 is available now for £3,950. To find out more about the report and how your company can benefit from a global usage licence, please contact: Heather Adams (US) T: +1 207 781 9632 or Bill Allen (UK) T: +44 (0)1372 802086.

About Smithers Pira

Smithers Pira is the worldwide authority on packaging, paper and print industry supply chains. Established in 1930, the company provides strategic and technical consulting, testing, intelligence and events to help clients gain market insights, identify opportunities, evaluate product performance and manage compliance.