Wide Format Printing Industry Continues to Experience Dramatic Growth

Wide format printing is nothing new, but the quality, affordability, and popularity of wide format printing are all growing. This is due to many developments within the industry itself and in the marketplace.

An ever increasing range of innovative products and increased demand is driving the industry toward increased profitability and creativity. Opening new horizons in the sign and display market, wide-format printing has broken into new markets such as textiles and functional printing.

Even though the 2016 to 2021 wide-format forecast tends to downplay this segments’ growth and adaptability (forecasting -1%CAGR from 2016 to 2021), there are several cues that point toward an upwards trend and increased adaptability within the segment.

Print providers are increasingly making use of newer technology, opening new horizons for wide-format printing. The widespread use of inkjet-based technology within the industry is creating new trends that are predicted to mature in the upcoming years, such as:

  1. Increased productivity and cost-effectiveness
  2. Wider media support
  3. Greater workflow and efficiency
  4. Availability for PSPs and applications

When comparing aqueous wide-format printers and multi-pass printers with single pass printers, the trend favors the latter. The popularity of single pass is on the increase. They lead the pack, while aqueous and multi-pass printers are seeing a decline now and in the projected future.

The versatility, increased productivity, and adaptability of single-pass printers are winning over the market and seem destined to dominate the immediate future.

Latex is experiencing healthy growth, in spite of slower than expected growth compared to its previous 15%+CAGR. Its alliance with HP and the use of its integrated PrintOS system is creating greater developments in workflow and productivity.

The same cannot be said of Solvent, facing stiff competition and loss of market shares across the spectrum. While aqueous wide-format is pushing Solvent out of the low-end, temporary signage segment, Solvent is still holding on thanks in part to its low-cost machines and inks segment, taking off in emerging markets.

UV is continuing to grow as its UV-LED technology spreads globally, making it a big pretender to Solvent’s high-end market share. The new UV flex inks are expanding applications allowing for a staggering 400% stretch, getting the fabric and vehicle wraps segment very interested indeed.

In conclusion, wide format printing is here to stay. Technologies are being phased out and replaced as we speak, creating a dynamic and growing market, today and in the foreseeable future.