Yet another technology to emerge is what we’ve been calling single-pass wide format aqueous inkjet. These are the Memjet-powered devices from Xante and Xerox and soon from Canon. The rated speed of the Xerox solution is over 4,500 sqft/hr which compares very favorably to similarly-priced UV-curable inkjet printers. While these printers are using aqueous and dye-based inks only (for now), they offer another competitive solution for short-term digital graphics, many of which are only posted for a short promotional period anyway.
In that same study, 32 percent of the wide format print buyers surveyed reported that they expect to spend more on wide format graphics in the future, compared to less than five percent that indicated they expect a decline. Not only are buyers reporting that they expect growth, but PSPs are reporting that their business is growing. The number of shops that reporting wide format print volume growth over the last 12 months outnumbered the shops that indicated a decline by a ratio of 5:1.
We’re projecting growth in the wide format digital print market for a number of reasons; the first is the shift from analog to digital print – a continuation of a trend that has been happening for years and is only increasing over time as average run lengths come down and digital printing gets ever more cost effective. The second major factor contributing to the growth of the wide format digital graphics market is the emergence of applications such as packaging, package prototyping, and interior décor products that add to the volume of print coming from wide format digital solutions. The third major factor, and a major factor it is, is the value proposition of signage and graphics relative to other advertising media. In our recent wide format print buyer study over 80% of users indicated that wide format signage and graphics were effective, highly effective, or extremely effective at their stated purpose. There are studies that indicate that signage and graphics applications are between three and up to 20-times more cost effective than other forms of advertising such as radio, television or newspaper advertising.
Having established the value proposition, the questions now is which technologies will be the best bet for PSPs to compete in the future. The answers are emerging based on their ability to produce applications, and produce them at such high rates, that help PSPs grow their top and bottom line.