Report projects annual growth rate of 7.5% through 2006
Printing companies that are already producing advertising materials, sell sheets or trade-show literature are missing out on potential new opportunities for revenues if they continue to see a wide-format inkjet printer primarily as a proofing device. That's one of the themes emphasized in a recently released report entitled, "A Study and Analysis of Digital Color Wide-Format Printing." The report was conducted for the Graphic Arts Marketing Information Service (GAMIS) by PrintCom Consulting Group of Waxhaw, NC. GAMIS is a part of the Printing Industries of America association that promotes the interest of more than 13,000 member companies.
Bill Lamparter, PrintCom president and lead researcher, characterizes the wide-format color digital printing market as "the most diverse and fastest-growing segment of the graphic-arts industry." At the end of 2001, the value of products produced on wide-format equipment in the US was estimated between $8.8 and $10 billion in retail sales value.
Wide-format digital color printing equipment was introduced slightly over 10 years ago. Until 2001, the market for digitally produced, color wide-format graphics grew between 50% and 200% a year. This growth stopped in the wake of the economic slowdown and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. PrintCom expects wide-format digital color printing to start growing again by the end of 2003, enjoy an annual growth rate of 7.5% through 2006.
PrintCom estimates that the installed based of wide-format inkjet printers for graphic-arts applications is 45,200 units. An estimated 150,000 more devices are in use in applications such as engineering, architecture, construction, mapping and technical documents.
According to the report, within commercial printing firms, the principal application of wide-format printers is currently proofing. Many commercial printing firms have not yet recognized that the equipment can be used to produce sellable end products.
The study concludes that the digital color wide-format printing business is big and growing, and opportunities abound for commercial printing companies. The report notes that the technology is relatively new, but is being continuously improved with the ongoing development of inks, coatings, substrates, and color management tools.
The study was recently distributed to all GAMIS members. For information on GAMIS membership, contact the organization's executive director Jackie Bland at 703-519-8179. (GAMIS: www.gamis.org)