Industry consultants weigh in on some of the market's top apps.
Vehicle graphics continue to play a major role for many print shops. Does this trend "have wheels" for 2009?
Adam Florek, research analyst, Wide Format Printing Advisory Service, Lyra (www.lyra.com): Vehicle graphics remain a reliable source of revenue, especially as firms look for distinctive ways to market themselves. It’s also relatively easy for small print shops to enter the market since hardware prices have come down. And because vehicle wraps are cheap compared to other forms of advertising, the market should perform well during an economic slowdown.
Dan Marx, vice president, markets and technology, SGIA (www.sgia.org): There still exists a great deal of interest in vehicle-graphics, as evidenced by the myriad training programs and new products for that market. While novel ways to wrap vehicles are still being dreamed up by enterprising imaging companies, I hold some concern that the market is becoming saturated. Honestly, I see the vehicle-graphics market as being much more about finishing than it is about imaging. The prints need to look good, but it’s the installation that ultimately makes a print into a wrap.
The "soft" side of the applications market-printing on textiles-seems to be continuing to grow. Will 2009 be even kinder to textile applications?
Florek: Lyra expects textile printing to increase in 2009 and beyond. In an effort to expand business, print shops are turning to textiles to offer their clients eye-catching designs. Environmental concerns will also help textile sales in the long run: Textiles are biodegradable, which means they can be disposed in a "green" manner. And since textiles are lighter than adhesive vinyl, less fuel is consumed when they’re shipped.
Marx: Add to those benefits the look and the feel of digitally printed textile products, which have become commonplace (and effective) in retail settings. Further, product diversity and printability continue to improve, all of which will serve to push textile applications forward.