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The Road Map

(March 2008) posted on Sat Mar 10, 2007

What does the digital-imaging marketplace have in store for printers in 2008? Read on to find out what you may see in the coming year.


By Tim Greene

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At the same time, however, there are other manufacturers of wide-format printers that are likely to enter the wideformat UV-curable-inkjet business in the coming year. The number of industry players may not be lower at the end of 2008, but we certainly think the list will be different.

 

Globalization

This is one that won’t go away. For years now we have seen a growing influence on the US market from overseas manufacturing. The same is true in Europe. In a recent study we conducted on the state of the printing market over there, the influence of global suppliers was identified as one of the leading concerns about the market—particularly the Chinese and Eastern Europeans. My interpretation of the data is that printers in the European market are worried that because manufacturing costs are very low in these markets due to lower labor costs, their customers will look for new suppliers from these markets—or will use the low prices available from these manufacturers to pressure prices downward in their markets.

There is an upside to this impact for printing organizations. Consider that more than half a dozen Asian manufacturers are participants in the fast growing sector of UV-curable-inkjet manufacturing and that these companies and their North American distribution have to compete with the HPs and EFIs of the world. With big distribution companies like Nazdar and Fujifilm Sericol now pushing these other models, there are likely to be a lot of hardware deals to be found in 2008. I have previously written about another trend in the market that we see as a by-product of globalization, and that is greener printing. Based on the strong demand for greener printing products worldwide, there have been some developments in ink and media products that are likely to have a major impact in North America in 2008.

 

Digital signage

In that same study we did in the market in Europe we found that one of the top concerns that many printing organizations have about their businesses is the threat posed by digital signage systems. More than 50% of the printing organizations surveyed told us they think digital signage is already negatively impacting the wide-format-printing business, while only 4% indicated that they think there will never be an impact (Figure 1).


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