Three Factors Leading to Growth in Digital Textiles

Tim Greene
Jan 16, 2013

At the end of 2012 InfoTrends completed a multi-client study called “Transforming Textile Printing” wherein we looked at many of the factors that have presented barriers to adoption as well as the demand drivers of digital textile printing. Three major factors are developing at the same time that InfoTrends believes will drive significant investment in new digital textile printing hardware on a worldwide basis. The first major factor is the growing trend among retailers and big brands to want to mitigate risks. Historically, when it comes to certain types of fashion and home décor products, retailers and big brands make bets on the 10-20 designs that their buyers believe will be popular for a given season. Using historical workflow processes this was necessary because the retailers and big brands could not inventory all of the various fashion and décor products in hundreds of designs. Using digital workflows allows these companies to present more options and mitigate the risk of unused products and unsold inventory. From a technology standpoint the introduction of very high-speed, high-quality printing systems has enable the type of extremely fast production required to satisfy the time-to-market requirements of those customers. Companies like Konica-Minolta, Ms Srl, Reggiani, Robustelli, Stork, and others introduced some of the very high-speed systems in 2011.

The Stork Sphene – one of a new generation of high speed digital textile printers

Furthermore, the open ink configuration of some these systems, that is, the ability to use less expensive inks from reliable third-party sources instead of only OEM branded inks, will allow producers to come closer to the production costs they are comfortable with in their older screen or gravure textile printing processes. InfoTrends believes these large and rather sudden developments, along with other slower moving factors will add significantly to the interest in digitally printed textile markets in 2013. There are quite a few companies, such as those mentioned above, that have invested resources for many years that are well-positioned to take advantage of the dynamic growth in the digital textile printing market in 2013 and beyond. InfoTrends expects more technology and supplies vendors to enter the digital textile market as a result of the significant growth in this segment.

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