The global industrial and functional print market is expected to grow by around 50 per cent in the next five years, from US$76.9bn in 2017 to US$114.8bn by 2022, with four areas delivering most of the growth, according to a report from market-research company Smithers Pira.

In the five years to 2022, Smithers Pira says inkjet textile print and 3D will be the fastest-growing market segments, further pushing inkjet as the most valuable printing process in use after it overtook screen printing during 2017.

Historically decorative printing of décor and laminates was the biggest sector, responsible for a third of the total value. This has now shifted with electronics, digital textile work and 3D printing all predicted to grow much faster across the five-year study period.

The value of the décor and laminate print market in 2017 is US$15.8bn and this will grow by an annual average growth rate of 4 per cent to 2022, when it will be worth US$19.6bn, according to Smithers Pira.

Smithers Pira says there is growth in institutional and office buildings, in both the public and private sector where organisations require branding.

“There are also emerging niche opportunities. With the wide use of online travel review sites, hotels are increasingly keen to deliver a fresh experience. A TripAdvisor effect has been identified, with the claim it reduces the hotel renovation cycle from every seven years to every five years, consequently boosting the market for printed décor.”

The market for printing electronic items is sized at US$28.8bn for 2017 and is predicted by Smithers Pira to rise to a US$47.8bn valuation by 2022.


Using print to produce electronic items – membrane switches, RFID, circuitry, displays and photovoltaics – is already big business for many suppliers, and emerging applications in device and component design will continue to create new opportunities.

Smithers Pira says, “It opens up design opportunities and will enable the creation of a range of futuristic electronic devices. Printed electronics allows electronic functionality to be delivered on a far wider range of substrates than conventional methods. It will enable products with a cost and functionality that conventional electronic structures cannot deliver. While traditional electronics are used in print and packaging, integrating large-area printable electronics can provide thin, conformable and lightweight circuitry using large-scale high-volume manufacturing processes at low cost.”

Large electronics companies making smartphones, TVs and displays, lighting and solar panels are increasingly using printing as part of the production process, according to the report’s authors.

Smithers Pira estimates the global printed textile market is 32 billion square metres of output annually.

Printing with inkjet is increasing as fashion trends become more changeable – the adoption of inkjet textile printing is supporting ‘fast fashion’, with much quicker response times available to retailers.

The report says the sector rose from US$321m market in 2012 by 351 per cent to over US$1.1bn in 2017. This is set to accelerate, expanding at annual growth rate of 14.3 per cent to 2022, a value of 2.1 billion.

Inkjet printing allows the supply chain to be shortened and made more flexible. There are

many t-shirt printers offering a web-to-shirt service, where the buyer uploads their own unique image to be printed onto a garment on demand. The printing takes a large part of the value and will be done close to the buyer.

3D printing is a proven tool in industrial and commercial sectors, boosting design and rapid prototyping in many sectors and becoming a production tool for the complex moulds, tooling and dies used to form commodity metal and plastic parts.

Companies in the aviation, aerospace, automotive and medical sectors have all embraced the adoption of 3D print into industrial and commercial applications. 3D printing techniques are rapidly evolving toward broad acceptance and integration into the global manufacturing environment.

The value of the professional 3D printing market output will be US$21.4 billion in 2022 as applications broaden, representing an annual growth rate of 12.3 per cent for the five-year period.

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