Digital Inks Market size is forecast to reach $4.9 billion by 2026, after growing at a CAGR of 9.6% during 2021-2026. Digital inks are widely used in electronic paper and windows ink which includes the printing of texts, images, or other graphics digitally on a diverse range of media substrates. Digital printers provide a cleaner finish and use less space than conventional offset printing, thus allowing the use of unlimited colour combinations, which is the key influencing factor for the growth of the digital ink market. In addition, the growth of e-commerce platform is expected to fuel the demand for digital inks in applications such as advertising & promotion, and packaging. Furthermore, the globally increasing demand for digital ink in the packaging industry is expected to remain a key growth driver for the digital ink industry during the forecast period.
As the coronavirus epidemic has spread and its humanitarian impact has grown, industries that help provide essential needs are increasingly affected, such as providing food and necessary supplies to consumers safely. Due to the covid-19 outbreak, many countries are under shut down owing to which the offset printing, inkjet printers, and laser printing are witnessing a period of low demand from its end-use industries. As a result of the current scenario, several packaging firms across regions had to shut down their production facilities and services as countries had adopted partial or absolute lockdown policies to deal with the pandemic. And as digital ink is extensively used in this industry, the declining operation of these industries in various regions is directly limiting the digital ink market growth during the pandemic.
Digital Inks Market Segment Analysis – By Chemical Type
The solvent-based segment held the largest share in the digital inks market in 2020 and is expected to rise at a CAGR of 8.2% over the forecast period. Solvent-based digital inks serve as carriers that supply the substrate with the pigment. These inks also assist in the melting of the substrate surface. Then ink colourants penetrate the softened surface to reach the substrate’s inner layer. After the solvent evaporates to create an image that is scratch resistant and weather-resistant, the pigment is etched into the surface of the substrate. A variety of substrates can be used with digital inks and solvent-based printers, including inexpensive uncoated media, which is the main factor contributing to the growth of the digital ink market for solvent-based printers during the forecast period.
Digital Inks Market Segment Analysis – By Printing Method
The electrographic segment held the largest share in the digital inks market in 2020. The key driver contributing to the growth of the segment over the forecast period is the increasing use of electrographic printing in the packaging industry. It can be used on a wide range of paper, glass, metal, and fabric substrates. Due to the benefits associated with it, such as cost-effectiveness, high-speed operation, and the ability to print on a large scale, the technology is largely used for commercial purposes. Moreover, inkjet inks are also expected to experience an increase in its demand during the forecast period, owing to its outstanding image quality, especially with colour photos.
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Digital Inks Market Segment Analysis – By Substrate
The plastics segment held the largest share in the digital inks market in 2020 and is growing at a CAGR of 8.5% during 2021-2026. As they have strength, resilience, flexibility, durability, and protective properties, plastics are suitable substrates for printing. To digitally print on plastics, wide-format ink-jet UV-curable technologies, such as digital roll-to-roll and digital cut-sheet, are used. Polyester, polycarbonate, stiff vinyl, cast vinyl, and polystyrene acrylic are various plastic substrates used for digital printing. Furthermore, high demand for plastics as a packaging material is also anticipated to drive the digital inks market growth in the plastic segment during the forecast period.
Digital Inks Market Segment Analysis – By Application
The industrial & commercial segment held the largest share in the digital inks market in 2020 and is growing at a CAGR of 8.9% during 2021-2026, owing to the increasing demand for digital inks from the packaging industries to print on the packaging materials. Digital inks are widely used in offset printing, inkjet printers, laser printing which includes the printing of texts, images, or other graphics digitally on a diverse range of media substrates in sectors such as personal care, food, beverages, and others. For consumer information as well as for marketing purposes, digital inks on packaging materials are used. For many different packaging materials, inks are used, such as plastics, paper, board, and cork. The growing demand for flexible packaging influences the growing demand for digital inks as it is extensively used in the labelling of packaging materials. Factors such as high demand for convenient consumer goods packaging, easy customization, easy customization, cost-effective, and lightweight property are expected to drive the demand for digital inks across industrial and commercial sectors during the forecast period.
Digital Inks Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
Asia-Pacific region held the largest share in the digital inks market in 2020 up to 32%, owing to the increasing demand for proper labelling in packages and increasing packaging industry in the APAC region. The Indian government introduced, Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, in 2011, the products should be digitally labelled with information such as best before, date o manufacture, date of packaging, use-by date, and more. According to the Food Labeling Standards of China (GB7718-2011), in addition to the name and address of the general distributor registered in the country, imported foodstuffs must have clear markings indicating the country of origin. The pre-packaged food must be labelled in accordance with the 2015 Food Safety Law in China and must include the following information, such as name, specification, net content and date of manufacture; table of ingredients or formulation; name, address, and contact information of the producer; shelf life and more. With the increasing packaging and labelling market in the Asia Pacific the demand for digital printing will also increase, which will propel the digital inks market in the APAC region during the forecast period.
Digital Inks Market Drivers
Increasing Usage of Digital Inks in the Ceramic Tiles Application
The rapid and widespread diffusion of digital printers is transforming inkjet printing into the leading ceramic tile decoration technology. Drop on Demand Ink-Jet Printing (DOD-IJP) is becoming the leading ceramic tile decorating technology. The reason for such a rapid and widespread dissemination of inkjet printers stems from several advantages of digital technology: e.g., non-contact decoration, rational ink management, possibility to print textured surfaces and high-quality images, more efficient management of the decoration department, and greater control on the production line, saving space, cutting costs, and more. According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), the world export of unglazed ceramic flags and paving, hearth, or wall tiles was values at USD 5,035,718 thousand in 2016, which then increased to USD 16,884,125 thousand in 2017, and then amounted to USD 17,966,933 thousand in 2018. The export value of ceramic tiles is increasing owing to the increasing per capita income, and increasing urbanization in various regions. Thus, the increasing demand for digital inks in the application of ceramic tile acts as a driver for the digital inks market.
Increasing E-Commerce Platform
According to the International Trade Administration (ITA), due to its dynamic economy and its developed infrastructure for digital technologies, Malaysia is an attractive e-Commerce market in Southeast Asia. The e-Commerce sector in Malaysia is benefiting from the implementation of programs under the National Strategic Roadmap for E-Commerce (NeSR). Japan is the world’s third-largest and fastest-growing market for e-Commerce. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, for the first quarter of 2020, the estimate for U.S. retail e-commerce sales was $160.3 billion, an increase of 2.4 percent (±1.1 percent) from the fourth quarter of 2019. In emerging countries, demand for online shopping is rising and labels, plastic bags, and invoices are used for packaging that ultimately needs digital inks to label deliverable packages. Thus, the increase of e-commerce platform acts as a driver for the digital inks market.
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Digital Inks Market Challenges
Volatility in Crude Oil Prices
The raw materials used for the production of digital inks are products derived from petrochemicals such as solvents, black carbon, resins, mineral oils, and intermediates. Digital inks are widely used for fine arts and a wide range of advertising promotions. The downstream products of crude oil, such as flavourings, ketones, esters, and alcohols, are the raw materials often used for the production of ink solvents. So, the price fluctuation of crude oils also hinders the price of ink solvent raw materials. According to, BP Statistical Review of World Energy, in the recent year there has been volatility in the price of crude oil, such as the crude oil price decreased from $98.95/bbl in 2014 to $52.39/bbl in 2015 and increased from $43.73/bbl in 2016 to $71.31/bbl in 2018 and then decreased to $64.21/bbl in 2019. And because of this uncertainty in crude oil prices, the price of digital inks also increases. Thus, the volatility in crude oil prices is expected to be a significant challenge for the digital ink market manufacturers, which will hinder the digital ink market growth during the forecast period.
Digital Inks Market Landscape
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the digital inks market. Major players in the digital ink market are Sun Chemical, Nazdar Company, Marabu, Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co., JK Group, Inx International Ink, Bordeaux Digital Printink Ltd., Sensient Imaging Technologies, Fujifilm Holdings Corporation, and Nutec Digital Ink, among others.
In June 2020, PV Nano Cell Ltd. launched a new, general-purpose conductive gold ink to be used with inkjet and aerosol printing. The new ink now enables a simple, digital, additive, mass-production technology.
In January 2020, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. announced the official launch of the MGI JETvarnish 3D One, a digital embellishment press that provides sensory print applications for printers of every size.
Asia-Pacific dominates the digital inks market, owing to the increasing demand for digital inks from the packaging industry in the region for labelling and invoice of products.
Growing demand for solvent-based printers from the packaging industry, high consumption of food and beverages, and electronics in the developing regions contributes to the growth of flexible packaging and digital inks.
The steady rise of digital media has reduced the market for print media by which many players have shifted at least half of their marketing spending over the past few years from traditional to digital advertising, which may restrict the growth of the digital ink market. Furthermore, the increasing adoption of laser printing may also restrict the market.
Increasing adoption of electronic paper and windows ink for applications such as e-books, electronic newspapers, portable signs, and foldable, rollable displays, will also be a major driver for the digital ink market as electronic paper and windows ink largely uses digital inks.
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