Market for digitally printed textiles will blossom in 2013

By Tim Greene, Wednesday 23 January 2013

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Wide-format relies on trends in overall advertising spending, outdoor advertising, retail/indoor and events businesses.

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The Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA, www.oaaa.org) reported that outdoor advertising grew 4.5%, 4.3% and 4.4% in the first three quarters of 2012, following a trend in outdoor advertising expenditure growth in 2011. OAAA president and chief executive Nancy Fletcher has said that "more brands are recognising the value out-of-home advertising can add to a strategic media plan". At InfoTrends, we believe this is exactly right. The value of wide-format signage and graphics is compelling enough to drive significant growth through 2013.

The key wide-format colour toner selling proposition is high speed and low running costs. The drawback has been that the colour toner-based system is expensive and does not print onto a wide range of media. So, in 2012 when KIP introduced the C7800, they increased the speed and drastically reduced the price (about 40%) compared to the original KIP Color 80 model. For the rest of 2012, the combination of KIP and Konica-Minolta drove sales of the C7800 unit at significantly higher levels than the original colour toner-based wide-format printer, the KIP Color 80, ever saw. Sales in the colour toner segment grew nearly 100% in North America after the launch of the C7800. With nearly a year of getting to know the wide-format markets, we expect the C7800 sales to continue to grow robustly in 2013.

We believe that 3M sets the tone for the pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) vinyl market. At SGIA in October 2012 3M launched Envision, a line of PVC-free vehicle-wrap materials With some large brands and major retailers limiting or even eliminating the use of point-of-sale materials that have PVC in them, InfoTrends believes other manufacturers will have to follow suit or risk being left out of the portfolio of products that signage and graphics producers could use to produce certain campaigns. Some retailers have enormous fleets, so changing over that many trucks and trailers represents an enormous opportunity for the graphics film business.

At the end of 2012, InfoTrends completed a multi-client study called Transforming Textile Printing. Three major factors are developing at the same time. We believe these drive investment in digital textile printing hardware.

Using historical workflow processes, retailers and big brands could not stock all of the various fashion and décor products in hundreds of designs. Using digital workflows allows more options and mitigates the risk of unused products and unsold inventory. From a technology standpoint, the introduction of very high-speed, high-quality printing systems has enabled the fast production required to satisfy the time-to-market requirements. Furthermore, open ink configuration enables the use of less expensive inks from reliable third-party sources instead of only OEM branded inks. This will help producers reach the production costs of screen textile printing.

InfoTrends believes these and other factors will add to the interest in digitally printed textile markets in 2013

Tim Greene, director of wide-format service, InfoTrends

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