Given the continued trend of a shift to online digital media, color printing technology may not be in vogue -- but it's still evolving. According to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC), the worldwide digital production color print market continued its unabated growth of top-line shipment value in 2013.
The industry achieved record shipment values of $4.4 billion in 2013, fueled by growth in a range of technologies, from mid-production cut sheet to ultra-high volume inkjet printing systems.
The cumulative value of shipments is expected to approach $25 billion over the 2014-2018 forecast period, climbing from $4.6 billion to $5.4 billion with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2 percent.
"Between 2014 and 2018, IDC expects to see the sum of all production color shipments to surpass 353,000," said Amy Machado, senior research analyst at IDC. "The high end of the market, albeit smaller from a unit perspective, is where the gold rush of pages is occurring with vendors vying for market dominance."
Annual unit shipments doubled from 2008 to 2013, growing from 32,031 units to 65,526 units, respectively. The majority of this growth came from mid- and lighter production devices, which represented 95.8 percent of all units sold in 2013, and illustrates how color printing has become widely available to a broad range of lower volume environments.
A major shift is underway towards mid-production print equipment, which offer the promise of higher productivity, improved color stability, greater substrate flexibility, and more professional finishing capabilities.
This shift began last year and IDC predicts that mid-production print shipments will deliver a robust CAGR of 7.4 percent from 12,091 shipments in 2013 to 17,268 in 2018.
Full production, including laser (toner-based products) and inkjet presses, reached 2,732 shipments in 2013, representing an 11.7 percent increase from 2012.
Growth will continue through the forecast period with a CAGR of 4.9 percent and shipments reaching 3,466 units in 2018. While these full production products represent a minority of unit shipments in the production color market, they will represent nearly 50 percent of the value of shipments in 2018.
Total growth in the production color market will continue, at a CAGR or 2.7 percent, through the forecast period, fueled by mid-production and higher volume equipment, and reaching 74,982 shipments by 2018.