COVID-19's impact on manufacturing issued a significant toll on the digital printing packaging industry. Production slowed, plants closed, and supply-chain disruptions put everything at a standstill. Fortunately, manufacturing eventually hit its stride again, and the digital printing packaging market rebounded mightily as of late 2021. And it's with this momentum that the industry begins a decade-long expansion.
In a recently published report, Allied Market Research (AMR) forecasts that the digital printing industry for packaging will propel from $20.6B globally in 2021 to $49.9B by 2031. That's a compound annual growth rate of 9.1%.
So what's fueling the industry's rapid growth? From pandemic-related disruptors to new consumer buying habits, these insights highlight the sector's strength and what we can expect over the next decade.
As another growth indicator, Zion Marketing also recently published a report stating that the personalized packaging market will reach $3.5B by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 4.8% (beginning 2018). Indeed, increased demand for personalized packaging will play a critical role in the digital printing boom.
Steady strides in e-commerce and digital printing make it easier for brands to feel more exclusive. For instance, subscription boxes (which saw a renaissance during the pandemic) benefit immensely from digital printing's flexibility. Personalized notes, names, and custom visuals nurture brand loyalty and ensure products get primed for social media exposure.
In addition to facilitating personalized packaging, digital printing provides a cost-effective solution for shorter runs, something that's becoming increasingly crucial to retail's survival. Over the next decade, agility's the name of the game. To remain relevant, today's businesses must contend with more SKUs, promotions, and marketing campaigns—and digital printing for packaging facilitates all of this.
It even allows brands to explore targeted marketing, testing different packaging for different geographical and demographic segments. While offset printing could never make such strategies feasible, digital printers can remain economical while fulfilling orders of as little as ten units.
If you've been to a restaurant in the past 18 months, you know that QR codes are back in a big way. But beyond facilitating paperless menus, the technology is being leveraged by businesses to support brand identity and optimize packaging real estate.
For instance, a coffee roaster can include a QR code on its packaging that, when scanned, provides the consumer with a brew chart, tasting notes, and even a profile of the farmers sustainably harvesting the beans. All this added value and brand engagement are made possible by digital variable data printing.
Also facilitating virtual labeling, augmented reality is seeing substantial growth. AMR expects AR in retail to reach $61.3B by 2031, which wouldn't be possible without smart packaging.
Both Ink Jet and full-color printing have made leaps in quality over the past few short years. Sure, brands once favored offset printing for its aesthetic superiority, but that's no longer really the case.
Indeed, offset remains the more economical choice for huge, sprawling runs, but as we've pointed out, shorter-run packaging print jobs are becoming more prevalent. And when there's no longer a discernable qualitative difference between the two options, cost-effectiveness wins.
Digital printing produces less material waste than offset printing, making it the eco-friendlier option. As Gen Z's purchasing power grows, these small sustainability steps matter more and more.
Also, most packaging material used by digital printing is fully recyclable and commonly made from recycled materials. For example, rigid boxes and mailing boxes serve as sustainable alternatives to bubble wrap. And not to mention how appealing a personalized box can be to the consumer. This type of packaging will often get held onto as a display case or organizer instead of going straight to the trash, adding additional value as something that you can reuse again.
Digital printing for packaging offers SMEs a hassle-free approach to bringing a brand to life. Packaging printers like Packwire provide user-friendly interfaces that make it easy to visualize a final product online, choose from a wide range of dimensions and materials, and upload artwork with just a few mouse taps. This DIY approach to packaging printing saves time and resources and is particularly useful now that remote working is a reality for most businesses.
If AMR's forecasting is correct, now's the time for businesses to consider how digital packaging can bolster their brands. See for yourself what custom digital printing can do for you—design your own packaging for free at www.packwire.com.
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