Installations will more than triple by 2010, according to I. T. Strategies.
The worldwide installed base of direct-to-garment inkjet printers will grow to nearly 51,000 in 2010, from its current 12,000, according to I.T. Strategies, the Hanover, MA-based consulting firm. More than 90% of that installed base will be low-end inkjet printers, those in the less-than-$50,000 price range, and will use aqueous-based pigmented inks that allow for direct printing onto cotton garments (inks are heat-set to fix the image).
The types of companies that will purchase these direct-to-garment printers fall into three categories, says I.T.:
* Screen printers and embroiderers that are already in the direct-to-garment business using screen printing or embroidery;
* Companies that are printing T-shirt transfers with thermal transfer or color laser printers; and
* New direct-to-garment companies such as Internet retailers (CafePress, Zazzle, etc.) and photographers, which have not previously participated in the garment-decoration market.
The retail value of the garments produced by direct-to-garment inkjet printers will increase from an estimated $3 billion in 2007 to more than $12 billion by 2010, I.T. reports.