Ask the Experts: The State of Wide Format
'The market continues to redefine itself.'
We asked six digital print specialists to respond to the current state of the industry and reveal what we should expect in 2017.
Big Picture: What’s your quick assessment of the state of wide-format printing going into 2017?
Steve Urmano, Director of Wide Format, InfoTrends: The wide-format market continues to redefine itself in the regard that multiple, entry-level products are being replaced by volume-oriented machines. Durable ink types such as pigment, latex, and UV have been the primary form of the wide-format deposition process. However, there is room in the market for new durable inks.
Mark Hanley, President, I.T. Strategies: As a supplier market, wide-format is beginning to mature, though the UV sector is vibrant for larger users of graphics in fast-response higher volumes. As a demand market, we see printed volumes still healthy in the 4- to 6-percent growth range benefiting from ever-huger systems productivity. Remember, the wide-format market performs a very important role in the heart of our consumer-oriented economy in allowing local use of graphics to enhance local retail sales.
Marco Boer, VP, I.T. Strategies: I would add that the interest in wide-format printing continues to grow among commercial printers. It used to be a side hobby, but with the advent of faster production printers, wide-format fits well with what offset printers know in terms of high volume.
Sean Smyth, Print Consultant, Smithers Pira: The industry is in robust health, if ink volumes, substrates, and equipment sales are anything to go on. The sector is mature, with more applications becoming economical as inks and end-user expertise grows.
Tim Greene, Research Director of Hardcopy Solutions, IDC: The large-format market seems pretty stable. All indications are that the market for digital graphics continues to grow overall due to the continuing trends for shorter runs, versioning, and demands for faster speed to market among major brands and advertisers that drive a lot of large-format print volume. Major categories such as outdoor advertising seem to be steadily growing as well, according to OAAA.
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