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11-07-17 - Jennifer Dochstader, LPC

New FINAT survey: The changing landscape of the European Digital Label Printing industry

Earlier this year, FINAT announced that the association commissioned market research firm LPC, Inc. to research and compile the FINAT Digital Label Market Study. Due to be released in June, preliminary results were presented by LPC’s principals, Jennifer Dochstader and David Walsh, at the European Label Forum in Berlin. More than 100 label converters across Europe participated in an extensive survey that asked companies questions ranging from the profitability of their digital presses, what their most significant challenges associated with digital label production are, and the opportunities they see for digital label printing in the near and longer-term future.

The study estimates that nearly 150 digital production presses were sold into the European region in 2016 and that around 69% of these press systems were toner-based, and 31% inkjet and/or inkjet hybrid presses. Converters’ future purchase projections indicate higher unit growth rates for inkjet and hybrid presses compared to toner-based systems, however distinctive regional digital format preferences persist in the market place with some parts of Europe more ‘toner-centric’ and other regions wanting to capture the capabilities of the newest inkjet press offerings.

Pertinent issues facing the operation of digital presses

According to the research, in 2016 the value of digital labels represented 9.7% of the total European labelling sector. As the region’s flexo throughput value is projected to grow at less than 2% per annum in the coming years, digital label throughput is projected to continue to grow at double-digital rates per annum to 2022.

In addition to market sizing and digital production benchmarking, the study will explore the strengths and challenges of both primary digital formats as reported on by converters with digital presses. Press downtime due to service issues, colour matching, printing high opacity whites and the ability to find enough business to fill a new digital press were all topics discussed at length with participating converters to ensure the study reports on the most pertinent issues converters are facing in today’s competitive and dynamic label-printing landscape.