Intellectual Thoughts by Sanjay Panda: Technology- Digital printing market in India

Technology- Digital printing market in India

It’s a war out there to grab a share of the growing digital printing market in India. The printing and graphics industry is expected to turn a shade brighter in 2007-08. The Indian digital printing industry is projected to grow to $17 billion by 2010, from an estimated $11 billion in 2005 (as per print and packaging research organisation, Pira International). Gone are the vendors’ obsessions with niches where digital printers might be lucky enough to find a hundred thousand impressions per month. For that matter, a number of the digital print providers who pursued those niches are gone, too.
A buoyant industry estimates that between 2006 to 2015 digital printing products (world-over) will account for almost 30-35 per cent of the overall printing market. In 2005-06, the emphasis shifted from the niches for digital printing to sheer volumes as vendors ramped up shipments of new high-capacity digital colour presses with lower operating costs. The resulting explosion in volume was no surprise. “Digital colour printing is finally on the threshold for the explosive volume growth that monochrome digital printing experienced in the last decade.
In its endeavour to spread awareness about the digital printing industry, Xerox India along with Karnataka State Printers Association and the Government of Karnataka announced a joint tie-up for setting up the first-of-its kind print testing and training centre in Bangalore and has also set up a Xerox Innovation & Technology Excellence Centre with an investment of Rs 5 crore. Expecting growth for personalised print jobs, print-on-demand, shorter run lengths, Xerox and HP hope to tap verticals such as banking, telecom, insurance, retail, manufacturing and graphic arts. HP also intends to play an important role in all the e-governance projects defined by the government of India. Lexmark, on the other hand, is aiming for the Internet companies, BPOs and KPOs to fuel its growth. “With India being one of the world’s largest IT hot-beds, the demand for digital printing equipments is bound to escalate. With one third of digital work expected to be personalised by the end of 2006, personalisation and customisation are the two big trends where Xerox, HP, Lexmark and Canon hope to play a key role.
In an industry dominated by low-cost conventional printing technologies such as offset, flexography, and gravure, it is not surprising to note the demand for digital printing is shaping out to be highly elastic in nature. Applications like Web-to-print, variable data printing and short-run digital printing have been a hit among creatives and publishers, telecom and financial institutions. “Innovation from a product generation perspective would continue to be around the three vectors — cost of printing (a combination of equipment media and ink), image quality and speed.” HP has recently revealed a breakthrough technology, Edgeline, which, it claims will change the way enterprise customers look at printing. The penetration of digitised variable data printing is facilitated due to the need for regional or local messaging (in B and C class cities) either on the telephone bills, tax statements, and receipts that no offset printer can manage. Digital monochrome and colour printing together account for less than 3 per cent of the volume of publication and commercial printing in 2006 but is predicted to reach 25 per cent by 2010. Nevertheless, digital printing is not going to overpower the traditional industry anytime soon. However, the digital segment will soak up most of the growth across the total market. That sure is great news for those print providers who are going digital and is also a challenge for the rest to get moving.

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