The market for digital packaging and labels will be worth $7.3 billion in 2013 and continue to show impressive grow for the next five years, according to a major new report from Smithers Pira. Labels will account for the bulk of this volume with a value of $6 billion in 2013 - a total of 89.6% of all digital packaging.
The Future of Digital Printing for Packaging to 2018 is a comprehensive new study by Smithers Pira, containing in-depth information regarding technological developments in the digital packaging sector as well as five year forecasts categorised by type and geography.
According to the study, analogue packaging will grow by 28% in the 2008-2018 period while all digitally produced material will increase by 375%. This obvious disparity in growth rates explains why many equipment suppliers are developing digital equipment for the mainstream packaging market.
Digital printing is well established in label production, where electrophotography and inkjet enjoy growing shares of market value - these are forecasted to reach over 27% in 2018. Although the unit price of digital output is currently much higher than the analogue alternative, there will be significant reductions in this unit price in coming years. These are predicted to accelerate after 2014 as higher performance digital presses enter the market.
In The Future of Digital Printing for Packaging to 2018, Smithers Pira explores the many drivers for this growth in the digital print for packaging industry. As populations increase and consumers in industrialised regions enjoy growing income, packaging demand continues to rise. Meanwhile, in more developed regions average household sizes are falling, reducing average print runs and therefore playing to the strengths of digital packaging. The variable data capability of digital presses also allows for versioning and personalisation, as well as allowing for rapid response of short runs. Due to stringent labelling requirements, the use of late stage customisation to print the final details of a pack or label are being used more, a trend led by the pharmaceutical industry.
Smithers Pira reports that technology development is also playing a part in the growth of the digital print for packaging market. Electrophotography and inkjet are both improving in quality and speed, and larger systems and presses are becoming available which are challenging the dominance of offset, wide-web flexo and gravure.
The Western European market digital printing market is approaching $920 million in 2013, and Germany remains the largest country market for all print in Europe. Meanwhile, the US is the single largest country for print and packaging, and is by the far the most developed market for digital print. The US market is forecasted to grow to $3.38 billion by 2018.
Source: Smithers Pira