In contrast to competing analogue processes, inkjet is expected to grow rapidly, with a global market worth $86.8 billion in 2022. With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% from 2022 to 2027, this value will reach $128.9 billion in 2027. While inkjet is well established in some low-volume applications, faster presses mean that it is becoming more cost-competitive for longer print runs, even as many customers’ print purchasing strategies have changed. This is reflected in the volume of inkjet prints, which will increase from 1.0 trillion A4 print equivalents in 2022 to 1.7 trillion in 2027, representing a 10.0% CAGR from 2022 to 2027.

The greatest expansion will come in packaging applications with installations of the latest dedicated presses for corrugated, cartonboard and flexible substrates. Inkjet is also broadening its market with double-digit growth forecast across the same period in commercial print, books, catalogues, magazines and directories. As the technology suite for inkjet improves it is increasingly pushing electrophotography (toner) print out of several core markets.

Smithers’ extensive market data is combined with a critical examination of the technological developments that will shape and support the future evolution of inkjet printing:

-The speed and resolution of presses will continue to improve. Over the next five years, the 200m/min presses and printheads with 1200dpi in 2022 will be upgraded to a standard of 300m/min and 2400dpi in 2027. Greater integration of robotics using smart monitoring to minimise downtime and improved precision in direct-to-object print will benefit the segment.

-This output will be available in a broader range of press formats, including larger format sheet-fed machines capable of producing up to 10,000 A4 impressions per hour.

-As inkjet technology spreads, ink prices will fall from their current high. An expanded range of UV-curing and water-based inks, as well as the steady evolution of more specialised whites, metallic effects, fluorescents, varnishes, and security inks, will support the market.
The introduction of new embellishment and tactile finishes will allow for further diversification into segments such as home décor, transportation, garments, and other textile applications.

-Digital print will become price competitive with analogue on all but the longest commissions as inkjet prices fall and higher throughput equipment is installed.

-The market is benefiting from technological advances that allow inkjet to print on standard paperboard substrates with quality that is already approaching offset litho at the top of the market. Inkjet print rooms will benefit from systems that provide real-time comparison to digital masters to deliver defect-free print runs until 2027, as well as better integration with more finishing options.

-Inkjet, as a digital-native technology, is best positioned to integrate with online sales and maintenance, making it a strong fit for post-Covid boom segments like e-commerce packaging. It is also more user-friendly for new users, which contributes to the skills shortage that is currently afflicting many print rooms.

These – along with complimentary market trends – are examined in-depth in the new Smithers study The Future of Inkjet Printing to 2027.

Its comprehensive market data forecasts are presented in over 250 data tables and figures, segmenting this dynamic sector by: End-use application (Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Directories, Catalogues, Advertising Print, Commercial Print, Photobooks, Transactional print, Security print, Graphics, Labels, Packaging, and eight functional/industrial print markets); Ink type (Solvent, Water-based, Radcure, Other);

The authoritative technical and market guide is available to purchase now, priced $6,750 (€5,950, £4,950).

MPC3503 ( rent & purchase ) (5)
MPC3503 ( rent & purchase ) (6)
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