To say that the world has gone digital today would be a massive understatement. The touch of digital technology has completely changed the way businesses and individuals operate and interact. The print and printing industry, in particular, has witnessed widespread tech-driven transformations in the last decade or so. The momentum is shifting firmly and irreversibly in favour of digital printing; the market is expected to grow at a robust CAGR of 4.43% and achieve $28.85 billion within the next five years.
With the global digital printing industry growing at an unprecedented pace, let us look at some of the key trends which have been driving the innovation in the space:
The growing demand for personalisation in packaging and printing
The advent of technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, machine learning, and automation has enabled businesses to ensure a high level of personalisation in their service delivery. Not only has this given rise to flexible packaging and niche label companies, but has also increased the demand for innovative labels and packaging solutions.
Leading OEMs in the print and printing domain are looking to boost their profitability and revenues by capitalising on this emerging market and providing hi-tech solutions to fulfil this need-gap. Through tech-driven solutions, these players enable printing businesses to personalise each individual print even on bulk printing jobs, seamlessly and with minimal effort.
Push towards sustainable and environment-friendly operations
There has been a growing movement towards ensuring operations which are ecologically sustainable for some years. Workplaces and businesses are looking at reducing their carbon footprint to meet their sustainability goals. This has contributed to a massive surge in the demand for UV-cured inks. These inks are not only more environment-friendly, but also dry quickly and are resistant to UV rays. Such inks are also better suited for printing on different media such as textiles, plastics etc. and do not require pre-processing of the substrate, making them better suited for a wider range of commercial print and packaging applications.
Cloud connectivity and BYOD-led work cultures
The bulk of business operations today are taking place on the cloud, while the growing interconnectivity between various endpoints means that users are now using their personal devices to complete tasks on the go. Such digital-first, BYOD-led workplaces have led to the integration of the cloud into mainstream printing operations through innovative cloud-based Document Management Systems (DMS) and multifunction peripherals (MFPs). These solutions enable multiple users to work on a single file on a real-time basis for smoother workflows, optimised business operations, and better collaboration. They also allow authorised business users to access, modify, and execute print jobs from any device and any place.
The demand for experiential marketing initiatives
Marketing, today, is not about pushing a product on a customer; rather, it is about making a customer feel the need to own a particular product. Brands are always on the lookout for solutions which can help them market a product better. As a result, there is a growing market demand for experiential digital printing solutions. Print service providers are catering to this emerging niche with innovative offerings that enable special effects unattainable through conventional print technology. Manufacturers are even moving towards integrating AR capabilities into their solutions to extend a truly holistic and engaged experience to the end-user.
Short-run, on-demand printing
In today’s digital world of new-age media, bulk printing is being pushed to the backseat. Brands and marketers are increasingly capitalising on the ‘trending’ topics to enable a greater resonance with their target audiences and to create a deeper and lasting impact, driving the demand for short-run, on-demand, contextual print jobs. This has in turn fuelled the adoption of easy-to-use digital solutions, which allow for unprecedented image production quality and capability to print on multiple media formats.
—by Kuldeep Malhotra , Vice President, Sales, Konica Minolta Business Solutions India Pvt Ltd....