Survey reveals digital dominance by 2015
FESPA Digital 2014, which takes place on 20th-23rd May at Messe Munich, could mark a tipping point for the wide format graphics sector, with a survey of the FESPA printing community forecasting the prevalence of digital by 2015.
Over half of the 250 printers surveyed by Infotrends on behalf of FESPA in Summer 2013 reported that wide format digital now represents more than a third of their revenue. In two years’ time, 72 percent of respondents expect this to be the case, with 54 percent forecasting half their business to come from digital, and almost a third anticipating that digital will make up one third of their income. The respondents to the survey spanned 53 countries.
Solvent and aqueous inkjet continue to dominate the installed base among those surveyed, with 48 percent and 43 percent of printers respectively reporting ownership of these technologies. However, eco solvent, UV curable and latex printing are gaining ground. The proportion of work produced using UV curable inkjet is forecast by the community to grow from 13.6 percent now to 21 percent by 2015, contrasted with a drop from 18 percent to 13 percent for solvent UV.
This focus on digital is creating a positive mood towards technology investment. Buying intentions are stronger than at any other time since 2007, with 51 percent of respondents planning to purchase a new digital wide format printer in the next year, up from 37 percent in 2010. Evolving technologies are stimulating demand, with almost a third planning to invest in UV inkjet, 16 percent in eco-solvent and 13 percent in latex.
More than half of those planning to invest are doing so to achieve faster output, proving that productivity is still a key factor for printers. This reflects the fact that faster turnaround and just-in-time delivery remain the two dominant trends among customer demands. More than two-thirds of printers say these trends prevail among their customers.
Other notable buyer trends are that 57 percent of printers now say their customers are demanding delivery to the point of need, while 48 percent report more complex logistics requirements. These responses potentially point to an opportunity for printers to extend their service proposition and offer a more complete print-to-installation service.
Integration of print with other communication channels is clearly taking hold, with 49 percent saying that customers are looking for more integration with other media, and 42 percent citing demand for cross media devices to connect print with online media.
Banners (71 percent), posters (55 percent) and signs (53 percent) remain the top three applications being produced. However, textiles, POP, wallpaper/interiors, building wraps and ‘industrial’ applications are the fastest growing. 81 percent of printers report handling more textile work, followed by 71 percent for POP, 69 percen tfor wallpaper, 68 percent for building wraps, and 67 percent for industrial print.
81 percent of output is currently on flexible media, but 27 percent of planned hardware investments are being made with a view to printing onto rigid substrates, suggesting that this media mix will change in the foreseeable future, as POP, interior and industrial applications gain ground.
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