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Features Printing Wide-format Inkjet
Five reasons why large-format supports business resilience


February 23, 2022
By Sander Sondaal

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While key print production markets were heavily impacted by the pandemic, the wide-format sector experienced less disruption and is expected to enjoy strong growth in the next five years.

In fact, global consultancy Shingetsu Research predicts a CAGR of 5.4 per cent from 2021 to 2027 for the worldwide large-format printer marketIt expects it to reach $11.4 billion by 2027 from $8.8 billion in 2020.

Driving this is greater adoption in the advertising, packaging, and textile industries as well as expansion into new and emerging market segments like vehicle wrap, architectural layouts, home furnishing, and décor applications.

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This was reflected by a two per cent worldwide lift in large-format printer shipments, according to IDC. It reported the market returned to pre-pandemic levels in Q1 2021.

There are five reasons why large -format has proven to be so resilient.

1. Communication

It was the first technology that businesses and institutions pivoted to when the pandemic hit. It was used to quickly explain and identify what safety precautions to take, where to stand and even where to sanitize hands. It allowed print service providers to develop a new range of products.

2. Quality

The report from Shingetsu Research states the quality delivered by large-format systems is instrumental in print operations investing in the technology to help them deliver a broader range of services. The ability to produce high quality images allows specific detail to be shown in an engaging format.

3. Quantity flexibility

Production runs of one to many can readily and cost effectively be produced on wide-format systems. However, it is worth noting that Keypoint Intelligence stated that, while there are a lot of different products and run lengths possible, the top line offerings – banners, signs, window graphics, decals, and posters – haven’t changed much regardless of the economic conditions. It found profitability remained strong with the most produced, short run applications. They averaged a gross profit in excess of 50 per cent.

4. Substrate versatility

With an ability to print on almost any surface, UV technology allows print service providers to offer unique products and expand their business in different ways.

5. Application diversity 

Traditional applications remain the core business for wide-format, such as indoor and outdoor signage, point of purchase, vehicle wraps, posters, art, event and floor graphics, and décor such as wallpaper. However, as previously mentioned the technology can be used effectively in other markets, thanks to its versatility. These include short run jobs within the commercial, packaging, label, and industrial sectors, as well as proofing and even printed electronics and RFID conductive products.

Wide-format digital print’s strength lies in its ability to enable cost-effective, fast turnaround of orders while at the same time offering environmentally friendly solutions with low power consumption, minimal waste and producing only what is required.

Sander Sondaal is director, Commercial Print Sales, Graphic Communications Group, Ricoh Europe.