By 2020 and 2021, inkjet and electrophotographic printing will have opened up new markets for labels and packaging. Data from the new Smithers report, “The Future of Digital Printing for Packaging by 2026,” shows the total value will reach $ 21.1 billion in 2021.
This is in line with the existing trends, as the print runs are falling and the print quality on inkjet printing machines has increased; but the market has received a particular boost from the COVID-19 pandemic. As normal supply and consumer buying behavior were disrupted, the installed base of digitally pressed products increased to meet the fluctuating demand from packaging buyers.
Accordingly, the print volume for digital printing in packaging increased by 20.8% in the period 2019-2020. This happened in a market environment in which the global total volume of printed packaging declined by -1.9%.
As other printing segments are badly hit by COVID-19, packaging and labels are increasingly the focus of many printing OEMs, with the latest digital technology promising to open up new segments and printing options for print service providers (PSPs). Overall, the sector will remain attractive through 2021-2026 as the demand for digitally printed packaging significantly outperforms the broader market.
Led by Inkjet, the digital share of the printed label and packaging market will increase from 4.4% in value in 2020 (18.5 billion US dollars) to 7.2% (35.9 billion US dollars) in 2026 . This corresponds to an average annual growth rate of 11.2% (CAGR.). ) for 2021-2026.
Labels will still make up the bulk of digital production at $ 11.79 billion in 2021, but these will have a relatively low CAGR of 5.6% by 2026. The fastest growth will be in corrugated cardboard ($ 5.78 billion in 2021), closely followed by folding cartons ($ 2.31). Billion). With both segments more than doubling their digital usage over the forecast period, their combined value will exceed digital label printing in 2026.
Over the next five years, improvements will help make the process more competitive, even for medium- and long-term orders for folding boxes, corrugated cardboard, flexible and rigid plastics.
Further advances in printheads will increase both quality and speed. While print heads with a native resolution of 1,200 dpi and grayscale printing of up to 200 m per minute are standard today; It is forecast that by 2026, 2,400 dpi units will be common and the grayscale speed will increase to 300 meters per minute. Variations in drop size also improve the use of inkjet, up to 1pl for fine quality or much larger for whites, solid colors, varnishes and decorative effects.
As the market expands, machines from larger OEMs will increasingly dominate the market with fewer turnkey solutions and hybrid models being sold. More installations of sheetfed offset inkjet presses will help open large format packaging for digital printing.
At the same time, inks will be improved to allow use on a wider range of packaging substrates, there will be increased use of water-based ink sets, while larger sales volumes will lower the price per liter.
For color toner printing machines, the main challenge will be to compete with newer inkjet machines for labels, boxes and flexible materials. The segment will be strengthened by its own new technology developments, such as the LEPx technology from HP Indigo.