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Smithers Pira forecasts continued growth of thermal printing market

Smithers Pira estimates that the global thermal printing is valued at $31.8 billion in 2016 at end user price level and it is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.9% (CAGR) during the period of 2016-2021.

Its new report, The Future of Thermal Printing to 2021, divides the thermal printing market into eight major end user segments: retailing, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, healthcare, commercial services, entertainment and hospitality, and government. One additional segment identified as ‘Other’ includes unrelated lines of businesses (LOB), such as energy, construction, mining, engineering, etc. that are difficult to categorise.

Thermal printing is one of the three dominant digital printing technologies along with inkjet and electrophotography used for industrial printing. There are three basic types of thermal printers, direct thermal, thermal mass transfer and dye diffusion thermal transfer. However, they all use the same basic principal, the application of heat generated in the digitally-controlled heated elements of the print head to create the images.

“The thermal printing industry has a long history of innovation. Print head manufacturers and media suppliers work closely with printer OEMs in response to requests from the end users for solving problems.” States Endre Vargha, author of the report.

“This collaboration time and time again led to new applications and markets with significant growth opportunities.”

Fundamentally, there are two main sets of driving forces that help increase the size of the thermal printing market. First there is the general economic growth which affects the level of use and activity of the existing printing applications with direct impact on the consumption of thermal printing supplies. The second group involves the factors that influence end users’ decisions in selecting thermal printing to solve their business problems, based on the benefits and inherent advantages of the technology.

Asia-Pacific region is the largest market for thermal printing technology with an estimated market share of 34.6%. Next in size is North America with 27.4% which is expected to increase at a rate of 3.0% CAGR to 2021. The third largest thermal printing market is Western Europe valued at 22.4% and projected to grow at a rate of 3.1% CAGR.

The rapid expansion of wireless technology, specifically Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and WLAN (wireless local area networks), has enabled the growth of thermal printers in both mobile and stationary applications as the printer manufacturers integrate wireless connectivity in their products.

The Future of Thermal Printing to 2021 is based on the ongoing, in-depth review and research of primary and secondary data. Primary research included structured surveys and follow-up interviews with leading players in the thermal printing value chain, including selective end users. Secondary research consisted of multiple sources such as financial reports of publicly held companies participating in the industry, internet websites of key industry supplies, proceedings of industry conferences and publications, including press announcements, and presentations to financial analysts.