The digital printing market may be young, but it is poised for tremendous growth over the next decade. Smithers Pira’s The Future of Digital Printing to 2024 states that the total digital market will grow by 225 percent of its 2013 value by 2024. Based on current dollar value, anticipated volume of sales would approximate $294.8 billion.
Reasons cited for the segment’s growth forecast include:
- Allows print suppliers to improve service levels offered to customers
- Increased versioning/personalization makes print more targeted to end users, a valuable capability
- Use as a communication channel in connection with data and technology to identify valuable customers
- New opportunities for customers to make money
- Ability for high value short runs
- Segue into labels and packaging
Early growing pains of digital printing, namely unit cost and machine productivity, are being ironed out over time. Throughput and expenses are expected to rise and drop, respectively, over this time period.
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 percent of the value ($165 billion) and 53 percent of the digital print volume.
Over the next 10 years, 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. The technology is also being applied to textiles, ceramic tiles, flat and round glass, decorative laminates, automotive applications, electronic and photovoltaic products, and bio medical items.