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Smithers Projects Offset Decline to 2022

October 16, 2017  By PrintAction Staff

Digital printing processes, according to a new report by Smithers Pira, will see the fastest growth through the years of 2017 to 2022, stating this will leave the previously dominant offset litho process declining in terms of value.

In 2017, Smithers explains digital printing accounts for 16.2 percent of the global print market value, which equates to $785.1 billion and 2.9 percent of the total print volume. This is up from 2.1 percent of the print volume in 2012 and Smithers explains this transition is accelerating to 3.9 percent of volume by 2022 when new high-performance equipment will be in operation in most applications.

Smithers continues to explain the value of litho will drop from 48.1 percent of all print and printed packaging in 2012 down to 39.5 percent in 2022. Only flexography shows a rise in share among analogue printing processes through the new report.


Litho still dominates in terms of the number of prints and pages, explains Smithers, and by 2022 it will still account for over 70 percent of world print output, but much of it relates to what the research organization describes as relatively low-value newspaper, magazine and book printing.

Even as digital print remains a very small proportion of the volume, growing from 2.1 percent in 2012 to a projected 4.3 percent by 2022, its value is much greater, with Smithers expecting 20 of global print value to be accounted for by inkjet and electrophotography by 2022.

The penetration of digital into the mix of print applications varies considerably. In advertising, direct mail was built on personalized printing using digital systems, while the short run sign and display segments were early adopters of inkjet technologies.

Smithers explains, that in addition to direct mail and signage, inkjet has penetrated deeply into label printing on narrow-web platforms and is now moving to larger formats and other substrates like corrugated board.

Packaging is the growth engine for global print with volumes and values forecast to grow based on the new report, citing this environment is reflected in the number of press launches and concepts at trade shows by both from digital press developers and analogue equipment suppliers.

The strongest growth area for analogue printing is in flexography, according to Smithers, which is being driven by the growing packaging and labels applications. This print process is forecast to grow by 2.5 percent CAGR through to 2022 to reach a global market value of $186 billion.

Digital print is forecast to reach a global market value of $169 billion by 2022 growing on average by 5.9 percent CAGR. Digital print for packaging will be the key market opportunity for digital print as Smithers estimates it will grow by 22 percent CAGR through to 2022 to reach a global market value of around $8.4 billion.

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