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Digital print is set to enjoy significant growth – here’s why

July 4, 2022  By Erwin Busselot

Digital print will continue to displace offset litho in multiple applications during the next five years.

Smithers’s Future of Digital vs Offset Printing to 2027 global report predicts the digital printing industry that was valued at $122.9 billion in 2017 will reach $189.8 billion by 2027. It will enjoy a growth rate of 5.7 per cent between now and 2027. In contrast the analogue market, valued at $734.5 billion in 2017, will fall to $721.4 billion in 2027.

Three trends encouraging this growth were identified by the report. They are:


Print buying moving toward shorter commissions

There is greater demand for short run faster turnaround work that allows just what is required to be produced in a timely way. Reprints can then be ordered as and when needed, allowing production flexibility and versioning or changes to improve messaging. Digital print on demand supports a more sustainable production approach. It results in less waste and highly accurate costings. There is no need to store stock and reorders can be easily placed and completed when requested.

Budgets revised to target higher returns

Digital print can deliver greater budget flexibility. It can also produce added value applications whether that is via the wide range of stocks it handles or through digital print enhancement possibilities. In fact, a Ricoh commissioned survey conducted by NAPCO Research found brand owners expect to pay up to 33 per cent more for coatings and textures, 33 per cent more for special colours, such as white, metallic, or fluorescent and 31 per cent more for secure print such as UV or infrared ink.

Significant improvement in digital print quality

Research and development have focused on the evolution of systems that meet the demand for offset like quality results. They make the switch from analogue to digital print production highly attractive while also expanding the application possibilities and ensuring run length agility.

For digital inkjet printing it was advertising applications that were expected to account for the highest volume increases over the forecast period, according to the report. Strong growth was also identified for commercial print and books as well as packaging.

For toner, commercial and graphics applications, including specialty products like photobooks, were expected to drive moderate growth.

The report also highlighted that the adoption of digital technology has been led by Western Europe along with North America. These trends and identified areas of predicted growth present exciting opportunities for print service providers.

Erwin Busselot is director, Business Innovation & Solutions, Ricoh Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe.

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