On the Horizon: Looking at the Digital Printing Business Forecast

Production print market expected to change fast



German Sacristan


At all levels, the printing business is expected to see severe changes impacting the way many will do business in the very near future. Today, more than ever before, it is imperative to know what could be changing, when it could change, and how, so that we are ready for it.


Our digital printing equipment sales, print volumes and revenue forecast this year is certainly aggressive, representing different challenges and opportunities—across most of the different digital printing technologies and categories.


Print buyers are getting very comfortable purchasing online, which creates a strong and fast change in the type of printing technologies that most print volumes will be produced in the next couple of years. Low production MFPs are normally purchased by copy centers and quick printers to serve walk-up customers. If these customers start buying online, that means copy centers and quick printers lose control and influence over those customers.


The online market brings more opportunities, but it is also much more demanding because of the larger number of competitors (that are only a click away) who sell commodity print at a very low price. Meaning copy centers and quick printers are expected to be pressured to lower their prices to compete with big online printers, as well as providing additional high-value products and services that online printers tend not to sell—such as custom designs, variable data printing, some special substrates and finishing, NFC tagging and augmented reality (AR), and even some promotional items. 


These small retail print service providers who own and/or lease thousands of low production toner MFPs (which run at a higher cost to print a page) could be pushed to try to consolidate print volumes in a centralized production centers or even outsource to online printers for the trade to reduce their costs.


Purchasing shifts to e-commerce are expected to make an impact on the type of printing equipment that will produce a large number of printing pages as online printers and production centers run economy of scale models with larger production printing equipment and lower running costs. 


Large production inkjet equipment sales and print volumes are expected to grow while lower and even mid-production toner printers are expected to decline. This shift could have an impact on some digital printing equipment vendors as service and supplies revenues might be reduced, while print volumes shift to lower running cost inkjet printing equipment.  


Digital print volumes will have to grow fast in order for some equipment vendors to increase service and supplies as well as equipment sales revenues. At the same time, a huge market opportunity exists to shift print volumes from offset to digital. There will also be attempts to fulfill new communication needs from marketers through digital printing, which offers a better value and (therefore) ROI.


But it is not all about commodity printing, price, and inkjet as many PSPs (ones that do not have the large print volumes to justify a large production inkjet equipment investment) will have to sell specialty and additional value printing produced in a large variety of toner devices available in the market today. The pressure to sell value to compete should drive the relevance of print as an effective communication channel, therefore, providing sustainability and growth for the printing industry.


Specialty Printing Examples
Source: X1 (UK), Marketing 1:1 (Mexico), TalkingPrint (UK), ethosmedialab.com, Twitter @laserbureau,
wixsite.com, and cardsdirect


Subscribers to our On Demand Printing & Publishing Advisory Service can log in to the InfoCenter to view the 2019-2025 US and Western Europe Production Printing Market Forecast that includes printer sales, print volumes, and revenues organized by printer segments, technology, and feeding type. Not a subscriber? No problem. Just send us an email at sales@keypointintelligence.com for more info.