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InfoTrends announces digital printing study

September 25, 2012

The multi-client study provides technology vendors with a better understanding of what converters think about color digital printing and related technology.

InfoTrends has announced the completion of a multi-client study entitled What Do Converters Want? This study provides technology vendors with a better understanding of what label, flexible packaging, and folding carton converters think about the color printing and related technology that they use now, and what they want from color print technology in the future.

“Our survey of 228 converters shows that color digital printing aligns well with the basic wishes of label and packaging converters,” says Bob Leahey, associate director for InfoTrends’ Color Digital Label and Packaging Service. “We also found the interest in digital print options to be just as high among flexible packaging and folding carton converters as it is among label converters.” Leahey added that this finding was unexpected, since color digital printing is much better known among label converters.

InfoTrends estimates that converters’ 2011 billings for color digital printing reached $2.75 billion globally, and forecasts it at over $5.0 billion by the end of 2016. There is high interest among converters and even brand owners in color digital as a print method, one that can allow the printing of jobs that are hard to print, especially short runs. Although there is high interest in digital printing, there is currently low penetration of labels and packaging. Less than 10% of color labels for consumer goods and less than 1% of folding cartons and flexible packaging are now printed digitally. Meanwhile, digital print technology meets essential requirements and is a cost effective alternate to conventional presses for many existing label and packaging print jobs.

One reason that there is low penetration of labels and packaging is that there is a lack of education on the benefits of digital printing. InfoTrends recommends that technology vendors make educational outreach a priority. “Color digital presses are not well known among folding carton and flexible packaging converters,” says Leahey. “Webinars, trade show presence, conference presentations, and regional information sessions for converters and for key brand owners are all possible means to achieve this end.”

InfoTrends believes that the strong majority of physical volume of print in label, folding carton and flexible packaging printing will continue to be printed by analog presses for at least the next ten years. In that interval, though, InfoTrends says color digital presses will continue to increase their role and their share of physical volume. In folding carton and flexible packaging printing – where color digital presses now have only a tiny role – color digital presses will be working in tandem with conventional presses, as they do now in the label converting industry.

InfoTrends’ What Do Converters Want? provides insight on critical issues including:

Converters’ pain points with both color digital and analog printing

Technologies used now, as well as ones they either plan to buy or have rejected

Awareness and perceptions of key vendors of color digital presses

Enhancements converters want most from color digital presses and printers

Related products they want, such as finishing lines and workflow software.

This report is available immediately for purchase. For more information, visit the InfoTrends website or contact Scott Phinney at

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