2008 Wide Format Graphics Market
Hardware, Media, and Ink Revenues Reach $12.7B by 2012
By Mark Hanley, president, I.T. Strategies
The wide format graphics market generated total manufacturer revenues at the retail level for hardware, media, and ink of $9.8 billion in 2007 and is expected to generate manufacturer revenues of $12.7 billion in 2012, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of five percent. I.T. Strategies segments the wide format graphics market into three primary technology categories—aqueous, solvent, and UV. It is further divided by type, size, or price.
The wide format graphics market includes large displays and vehicle wraps. Developing applications include decorative—such as wallcoverings and ceramic tile—as well as textiles used for wallcoverings, window treatments, and bedding. Initially a market for short runs, the introduction of highly productive UV printers opened the market to longer runs, challenging screenprinting. As a result, the wide format graphics market is growing incrementally in those products that cannot be printed any other way such as bus wraps and building wraps, and as a replacement of screenprinting.
One of the hottest topics in the wide format graphics market today is environmental sustainability or "green." Print providers see an advantage in refocusing their shops towards green processes and output. Many find that customers are requesting green products. Today, those print providers refocusing towards green are using it as a differentiator. In time, being green will become a cost of doing business. A bigger issue is how wide format inkjet printing will be positioned in the future against screen and other analog print processes in reference to green.
Revenue from Hardware, Media, and Ink
Overall wide format inkjet hardware revenues will grow from $2 billion in 2007 to $2.6 billion in 2012, a CAGR of five percent. Hardware revenues are driven by the growing sales of UV roll-to-roll and flatbed sales which will almost double from $500 million in 2007 to more than $1 billion by 2012.
Wide format inkjet media revenues will grow from $4 billion in 2007 to $5.6 billion in 2012, a CAGR of seven percent. In terms of market revenues, media revenues will increase from 40 percent in 2007 to 44 percent in 2012 driven by the increasing installed base of highly productive UV printers.
Wide format inkjet ink revenues will grow from $3.8 billion in 2007 to $4.5 billion in 2012, a CAGR of three percent. Over the forecast period ink revenues will decrease as a percentage of total market revenues—from 39 to 35 percent—reflect the continued shift in the market from costly aqueous inks to more affordable solvent and UV-curable inks.
Revenue from Hardware, Media, and Ink by Type of Printer
Aqueous printers, which made up more than half of total market revenues since the mid 1990s, currently make up 39 percent of total market revenues. This share is expected to drop to 30 percent by 2012. Overall aqueous revenues are flat. For the most part this is a replacement market especially in the professional sectors where there is stiff competition from eco-solvent printers.
Solvent revenues will grow at a three percent CAGR over the forecast period, driven by the sales of eco-solvent printers to small print shops. The in-house segment is less impacted by eco-solvent printers, most likely because of issues with solvent odors, and remains a growth area.
UV revenues continue to show double digit growth throughout the forecast period. UV printers are defined as inkjet printers where the inks are cured by UV light. Print shops purchase these printers, both roll-to-roll and flatbed, for increased productivity and flexibility with relation to substrates. The increased popularity of hybrid printers also fuels this segment.
UV inkjet printers are expected to increase from 14 percent of total market revenues, $1.4 billion, in 2007 to 29 percent, $3.7 billion, by 2012, growing at a CAGR of 22 percent. UV growth is generating at the expense of both aqueous and solvent printers.
Revenue Comparison by Print Segment and Installed Base
In terms of total revenues per sector, the low-level solvent sector replaced aqueous as the top revenue generating sector. Smaller print shops continue to buy these printers for both indoor and outdoor applications. Today the market is increasingly competitive in new product categories—especially those considered green.
Aqueous Inkjet Printers
Revenues for hardware, media, and ink for wide format aqueous inkjet printers will remain flat at about $3.8 billion from 2007 to 2012. In 2007, the largest aqueous sector was professional aqueous printers greater than 36 inches. In 2007 it made up about 70 percent of all aqueous revenues, but in this sector revenue is expected to decline from $2.7 billion in 2007 to $2.3 billion in 2012, a CAGR of negative two percent due to continued competition from low-end solvent and UV printers. Revenues in the in-house sector are expected to grow from $927 million in 2007 to $1.2 billion in 2012, a CAGR of six percent as advertising agencies, universities, and hospitals purchase wide format inkjet printers to internally create presentations and signage.
The total installed base of wide format aqueous inkjet printers is forecast to grow from 261,187 printers in 2007 to 270,198 printers in 2012, a CAGR of one percent. Professional sectors will decrease from 113,804 in 2007 to 100,610 by 2012. There is the possibility that Hewlett-Packard could extend the economics of its Scalable Print Head technology to the aqueous wide format market, which would result in faster and more affordable printers. While this action could extend the life of the aqueous market, it has not been taken into account in the forecast.
The in-house installed base will grow from 147,382 printers in 2007 to 169,589 by 2012, a CAGR of three percent reflecting continued increased usage among in-house users of wide format inkjet printers. The in-house market is made up of corporations, schools, and hospitals that buy wide format inkjet printers for internal use and do not sell the output.
Solvent Inkjet Printers
In total, solvent printers generated hardware, media, and ink revenues of $4.6 billion in 2007 growing to $5.3 billion by 2012, a CAGR of three percent. Throughout the forecast period the largest share of revenue continues to come from low-level—also called eco-solvent—solvent printers, which will grow from 61 percent of solvent revenues—$2.8 billion, in 2007 to 64 percent, $3.4 billion, by 2012, a CAGR of four percent. Eco-solvent printers are still on the steep end of the market development curve and are expected to equal the size of the aqueous market in two to three years. Although eco-solvent printers can cost up to three times more than aqueous printers, the output can be used both indoors and outdoors, making them a smart investment for smaller shops that want to enter the market with a broad range of products to offer.
The Western OEMs Aggressive Solvent segment is forecast to decline from $1 billion in 2007 to $761 million in 2012, a CAGR of negative six percent, a sign of a long-term trend that this sector has passed its development peak. This is to some extent a vendor-driven trend since it is the same manufacturers that supply the aggressive solvent and the UV products. This decline in revenues reflects the continued increasing competition from UV flatbed and roll-to-roll printers as well as more of a focus by print shops on greener UV technology.
The installed base of wide format solvent printers is forecast to grow from 102,533 printers in 2007 to 158,214 printers by 2012, a CAGR of 11 percent. Western manufacturers make up about 75 percent of the installed base in 2007 and are expected to maintain that share through 2012. Not surprisingly, low-level solvent printers make up the largest segment of the solvent installed base growing from 73 percent—74,622 printers—in 2007 to 76 percent—120,502 printers—in 2012, a CAGR of ten percent.
Of special interest this year is Epson’s entry into the eco-solvent market with the introduction of its own Epson Stylus Pro GS6000. Previously, Epson was the inkjet printhead supplier to three major market participants—Mimaki, Mutoh, and Roland.
UV Inkjet Printers
In total, UV inkjet printers generated hardware, media, and ink revenues of $1.4 billion in 2007 growing to $3.6 billion by 2012, a CAGR of 22 percent. This is the newest segment of the wide format graphics market and has the highest growth rates and perhaps the potential to break into traditional screenprint volumes. Additionally, UV printers—with the ability to print on a wide variety of both rigid and flexible substrates—allow print shops to develop new applications.
Over the forecast period, revenues from flatbed UV printers will grow from $1.1 billion in 2007 to $2.5 billion by 2012. In total, revenues from roll-to-roll UV inkjet printers will grow from $259 million in 2007 to $1.2 billion by 2012. The majority of these revenues come from high-end roll-to-roll UV inkjet printers which are expected to grow from $247 million in 2007 to $1.2 billion in 2012, a CAGR of 36 percent.
The installed base of UV inkjet printers is forecast to grow from 6,616 printers in 2007 to 18,778 printers by 2012, a CAGR of 23 percent. Throughout the forecast period, flatbed inkjet UV printers are expected to grow from about 5,000 printers in 2007 to 15,500 by 2012. Low-end flatbed UV inkjet printers continue to be the largest segment of the UV inkjet printer installed base, growing from about 4,000 printers in 2007 to about 9,000 by 2012, a CAGR of 18 percent. Low-end UV printers are forecast to grow from about 400 printers in 2007 to more than 2,600 by 2012. The growth in UV inkjet printers—both flatbed and roll-to-roll—open up high-volume digital and screen markets to UV solutions at the expense of solvent inkjet and screenprinting.
Hardware Revenue & Installed Base
Hardware revenues from wide format inkjet printers are expected to increase from $2 billion in 2007 to $2.6 billion in 2012, a CAGR of five percent. Over the forecast period, the strongest growth area for hardware revenues is UV printers, which are expected to grow from revenues of almost $580 million in 2007 to just over $1 billion by 2012, a CAGR of 17 percent, this is a reflection of the productivity gains they offer. The declining wide format aqueous printer revenues reflect the continually decreasing price of these types of wide format inkjet printers.
The worldwide installed base of wide format inkjet printers is forecast to grow from a total of 370,336 printers in 2007 to 447,190 printers by 2012, a CAGR of four percent. In 2007, the installed base of aqueous printers was 261,187 or 71 percent of the total installed base of wide format inkjet printers. The percentage share of aqueous printers is expected to decrease to 60 percent by 2012. The installed base of solvent inkjet printers is expected to increase from 102,533 printers in 2007 to 158,214 by 2012, a CAGR of nine percent, driven by sales of low-level solvent printers. The installed base of UV printers will grow from 6,616 in 2007 to 18,778 by 2012, a CAGR of 23 percent. Even though UV printers are a relatively small part of the installed base, they make up an increasing share of hardware revenues because of the units’ high price.
Media Revenue and Square Feet
Worldwide total media revenues from wide format inkjet printers were $4 billion in 2007 and are forecast to grow to $5.6 billion in 2012, a CAGR of seven percent. Overall media revenues are driven by the continued migration towards more expensive, specialty media such as vinyl, fabric, canvas, and rigid substrates used in flatbed UV inkjet printers. UV inkjet printers experience the largest media revenue growth with revenues growing from $575 million in 2007 to more than $2 billion by 2012, a CAGR of 19 percent.
In terms of square feet, the total wide format graphics market produced 16.7 billion square feet of output in 2007 and this is forecast to grow to 25.5 billion square feet by 2012, a CAGR of nine percent. Solvent printers in 2007 generated 12 billion square feet—more than 70 percent of the total output—in 2007 and are expected to grow to more than 17 billion by 2012—an increase in total square feet, but a decrease to 69 percent of total market square feet. UV inkjet printers are expected to grow from just over one billion square feet, seven percent of total output, to 4.3 billion square feet in 2012, 17 percent of total output.
Ink Revenue and Liters
In 2007, total wide format graphics inkjet ink revenues were $3.8 billion and are forecast to grow to $4.5 billion by 2012, a CAGR of three percent. Aqueous printers continue to have the largest share of the ink revenue—in 2007, aqueous inkjet ink revenue was about half the total market at $1.8 billion. Although aqueous inkjet revenues will rise to about $1.9 billion by 2012, as a percent of total market revenues they will have dropped to 45 percent, overtaken by eco-solvent inkjet ink and a shift to UV output. UV inkjet inks will grow from $208 million in 2007 to $500 million by 2012, a CAGR of 19 percent. The decreasing overall percentage of aqueous inks reflects the market shift away from these costly inks to more affordable solvent and UV-curable inks.
In 2007, wide format inkjet printers consumed 30.7 million liters of ink. This will increase to 51.6 million liters by 2012, an 11 percent CAGR. During the forecast period, solvent printers will consume the most ink, increasing from 23 to 41 million liters, an increase from about 77 to approximately 80 percent of total ink liters.
Mark Hanley is president of I.T. Strategies. With over 21 years of experience, he specializes in researching digital color printing technologies. He travels extensively around the world, facilitating partnerships and strategic alliances between manufacturers in Europe, Japan, and the U.S.