The global digital inks market valued at $1,147.4 million in 2016, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% during the forecast period. The expanding packaging industry and increasing demand for UV-cured inks are the key factors driving the market. The market is further expected to prosper owing to the growing focus on the digitalization of books. Healthy growth in the packaging industry is also expected to play a pivotal role in the market for digital inks. A rise in the consumer spending on packaged food items and increase in the GDPs of several nations are expected to offer ample growth opportunities to the manufacturers of digital inks across the globe.
Insights on the market segments
On the basis of type, electrography and inkjet inks are the two market categories. Of these, electrography inks led the digital inks market in 2016. However, during the forecast period, the market is expected to witness faster growth in the inkjet inks category, on account of the several advantages offered by these inks, such less printing time, better resolution, and lower cost.
Based on application, the digital inks market is categorized into textiles, publication, industrial printing, packaging, office printing, commercial printing, and others (decorative printing). Among these, commercial printing was the largest application area of digital inks in 2016 in terms of revenue, as the sector requires prints with high resolution and throughout. As digital inks make this possible, these were consumed heavily by the commercial printing sector.
Among the different applications of these inks within the packaging sector, labels held the largest revenue share in the digital inks market in 2016. Labels are further predicted to be the largest application area of digital inks within the packaging industry during the forecast period. The increasing applications of labels in several industries is the key factor resulting in the growing demand for digital inks for label printing.
North America stands as the largest digital inks market
Globally, North America led the digital inks market during 2013–2016 in terms of value, and it will continue dominating the market during the forecast period as well. The market for digital inks in North America is propelled by the expanding electronics industry and rising demand from the commercial printing and office printing industries. Besides, the sales of environment-friendly digital inks are projected to increase in North America during the forecast period. The market for such inks in the continent is being benefited by the strict regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in relation to the use of inks containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in high quantities.
During the forecast period, the digital inks market is expected to witness the highest CAGR in Asia-Pacific (APAC), owing to the rapid growth of the office printing and commercial printing industries in emerging economies, such as India and China.
Increasing demand for UV-cured inks to have a significant impact on the market
UV-cured inks offer numerous advantages, including high curing speed, optimum print quality, and enhanced durability. These inks with flexible ink films have minimum VOC levels and offer improved resistance to wear and tear and scratches. Further, these inks are usable on various kinds of surfaces and absorbents, allowing for wider application across flexible and inflexible print substrates. Owing to these factors, UV-cured inks are rapidly being adopted around the world by diverse sectors, such as printing and publication, and food and pharmaceutical packaging. In addition, such kinds of digital inks generate low heat, last longer, consume less energy, and lead to zero ozone generation, which is why these are predicted to further gain popularity in the digital inks market.
Companies such as the Flint Group and Siegwerk Druckfarben AG & Co. KGaA are developing innovative and environment-friendly technologies for digital inks, including UV-cured and water-based inks, for higher efficiency and shorter production time. Such developments are expected to result in the growth of the digital inks market during the forecast period.
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Key market players eyeing acquisitions
Acquisitions have been a trend in the digital inks market as companies are looking at these as a key strategic move for expansion and growth. For example, in December 2016, the Flint Group acquired XBC B.V., an organization holding over 95.0% share in Xeikon N.V., a provider of digital solutions for commercial printing and packaging. The resulting division was named Flint Group Digital Printing Solutions. Similarly, in October 2016, DIC Corporation and Sun Chemical Corporation together purchased Gwent Electronic Materials Ltd., a U.K. based manufacturer of pastes, conductive inks, and powders, to strengthen their reach in the printed electronics market.
Electronics for Imaging Inc., Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co. Ltd., Sakata Inx Corporation, Siegwerk Druckfarben AG & Co. KGaA, Nazdar Ink Technologies, Marabu GmbH & Co. KG, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, and Wikoff Color Corporation are some other key players in the global digital inks market.