Printing with inkjet is becoming increasingly significant as fashion and interior trends become ever more changeable

Fashion Design Interior design

Printing with inkjet is becoming increasingly significant as fashion and interior trends become ever more changeable

The four fastest growing areas of industrial printing

Industrial printers are having to adapt to evolving consumer and buyer’s needs, which has enabled significant growth in four key areas of the market.

Industrial printing takes place across the world, with manufacturers using the processes, and specialist suppliers selling to component and product manufacturers. Printing technology is widely used in broader manufacturing processes, where the design is a critical factor in the product, particularly in:

  • Décor
  • Laminates
  • Ceramics
  • Textiles
  • Glass.

Routes to market vary widely, with large manufacturers employing printing functions as part of their processes, and specialist print businesses supplying components. Must we focus online or offline, “Do we need physical shops anymore?”. When it’s so much easier online to place orders especially with customisation applications? Brick an mortar isn’t dead, its evolving.

Smithers Pira’s report – The Future of Functional and Industrial Print to 2022 – values the industrial and functional print market at $76.9 billion in 2017, expanding to $114.8 billion by 2022.

Historically decorative printing of décor and laminates was the most significant sector, responsible for a third of the total value. Has now shifted to electronics, digital textile work and 3D printing, all growing much faster across the five-year Smithers Pira study period. Smithers Pira in-depth analysis identifies the four primary growth applications in modern print and discusses the general move towards greater integration of digital print technologies:

Décor and laminates

The print is widely used to decorate the surface appearance of much furniture and surfaces. Rotogravure dominates this market, where it is used to print paper that is processed into laminates for work surfaces, furniture, flooring and wallcoverings. Flexo and offset platforms take a small share, and the use of inkjet printers is becoming more widespread, especially for bespoke designs.  The market shows consistent growth between 2012 and 2022, reflecting the growing construction sector and the demand from more affluent consumers for pleasant interiors. There is growth in institutional and office buildings, in both the public and private sector where organisations require branding. There are also emerging niche opportunities. For example with the wide use of online travel review sites, hotels are increasingly keen to deliver a fresh experience. A ‘TripAdvisor effect’ has been identified, with the claim it reduces the hotel renovation cycle from every seven years to every five years, consequently boosting the market for printed décor. The value of the décor and laminate print market in 2017 is over $15.8 billion, and this will grow by an annual average growth rate of around 4% to 2022 when it is worth $19.6 billion.

Digitally printed textiles

The global printed textile market is enormous, estimated at over 32 billion square metres of output annually. Printing with inkjet is becoming increasingly significant as fashion trends become ever more changeable – the adoption of inkjet textile printing is supporting ‘fast fashion’, with much quicker response times available to retailers. There is strong growth in the sector as the $321 million market in 2012 rose by 351% to over $1.1 billion in 2017. This is set to accelerate, expanding at annual growth rate of 14.3% to 2022, a value of 2.1 billion. Inkjet printing allows the supply chain to be shortened and made more flexible. Many t-shirt printers are offering a web-to-shirt service, where the buyer uploads their unique image and are printed on to a garment on demand. The printing takes a large part of the value and will be done close to the buyer. For a fashion collection, stock-outs may be avoided by printing and making popular sizes and styles locally in small quantities. This causes higher manufacturing cost less of a problem, and internet retailers can extend this with only commissioning the product after a sale has completed online. Increasingly, supply chains are being pressured to provide greater flexibility, which inkjet textile printing can offer. The digital garment printing industry is starting to make its stamp within the more massive printing industry.  It has enjoyed significant growth in recent years, and it looks set to grow even further in the future. Smithers Pira predicts double-digit growth across 2016-2021 and is, therefore, making the digital textile printing one of the most exciting market opportunities in the print and textile industry.

Growth Opportunities

The company’s new report, The Future of Digital Textile Printing to 2021, forecasts an average annual growth rate of 12.3 per cent and expects the global market to more than double in value over the next five years, from nearly $2 billion in 2016 to more than $4 billion in 2021 (all figures in Canadian dollars). The soft signage and display materials sector are expected to maintain double-digit growth during that period, but the most significant increase is expected in the clothing and household textile sector. This rapid and lucrative market expansion is being fuelled by a series of factors, including technical innovations and evolving end-user demands. The market in 2016 for the digital textiles market share was about 2.8% of the overall print volume. But the digital print share is set to boom in a segment where the low growth is just 3%.

According to the Smithers Pira report, “The greatest acceleration across the study period will be in clothing, which has the key sub-segments of fashion, haute couture and sportswear. Household textiles are predicted to grow at the next fastest rate. Displays and signage are growing somewhat more slowly – from a larger base – but will maintain double-digit annual growth across the Smithers study period, which will convert into the largest absolute increase in value for 2016-2021. Technical textiles will lose ground slightly, which is indicative of a lack of visibility of, or focus on, these smaller niche markets.”

source: Smithers Pira and GM magazine Peter Dulis