According to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC), the worldwide digital production color market continued its unabated growth of top-line shipment value in 2013.
The industry achieved record shipment values of $4.4 billion in 2013, fueled by growth in a range of technologies, from mid-production cut sheet to ultra-high volume inkjet systems.
The cumulative value of shipments is expected to approach $25 billion over the 2014-2018 forecast period, climbing from $4.6 billion to $5.4 billion with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2%.
“Between 2014 and 2018, IDC expects to see the sum of all production color shipments to surpass 353,000,” said Amy Machado, Senior Research Analyst, Hardcopy Peripheral Solutions. “The high end of the market, albeit smaller from a unit perspective, is where the gold rush of pages is occurring with vendors vying for market dominance.”
Annual unit shipments doubled from 2008 to 2013, growing from 32,031 units to 65,526 units, respectively. The majority of this growth came from mid- and lighter production devices, which represented 95.8% of all units sold in 2013, and illustrates how color printing has become widely available to a broad range of lower volume environments.
A major shift is underway towards mid-production equipment, which offer the promise of higher productivity, improved color stability, greater substrate flexibility, and more professional finishing capabilities. This shift began last year and IDC predicts that mid-production shipments will deliver a robust CAGR of 7.4% from 12,091 shipments in 2013 to 17,268 in 2018.
Full production, including laser (toner-based products) and inkjet presses, reached 2,732 shipments in 2013, representing an 11.7% increase from 2012. Growth will continue through the forecast period with a CAGR of 4.9% and shipments reaching 3,466 units in 2018. While these full production products represent a minority of unit shipments in the production color market, they will represent nearly 50% of the value of shipments in 2018.
Total growth in the production color market will continue, at a CAGR or 2.7%, through the forecast period, fueled by mid-production and higher volume equipment, and reaching 74,982 shipments by 2018.
Included in the report are IDC’s perspectives on the following:
Forecast – Worldwide unit shipments grew 6.1% between 2012 and 2013. This was led by significant growth in the mid-production segment and steady growth in the full production segment. IDC predicts the equipment market will experience a 2.7% CAGR through 2018, led by full production inkjet presses and mid-production devices.
Technology choice – Technology choices are expanding for production print service providers, from imaging technology such as toner, liquid toner, and inkjet, to a wide range of sheet- and web-fed presses offering full, half, and quarter size configurations, and finally options from light and mid volumes up to ultra high-speed presses. These options provide a range of benefits, from low capital equipment costs for light production, to very low cost per page on high speed inkjet presses, and very high output quality and broad substrate flexibility on high-end sheet-fed presses.
Application expansion – With the expansion of technology choices, print service providers can target applications beyond the traditional document market. This includes core applications produced by commercial print providers, publications, direct marketing, and packaging. Print Service providers are entrepreneurial and opportunistic and will leverage these technologies to help transform key applications segments currently served by analog print technologies.