As 2021 kicks off, the disruption of 2020 will hopefully soon become a distant memory. However, print businesses that took advantage of changing and evolving market opportunities last year are now well-equipped to build on this for ongoing success. Print businesses that are still struggling due to disruption can also look to capitalise on new and growing market opportunities to find success in 2021.
At Konica Minolta, we’ve observed three key areas of opportunity that printers can leverage this year to position their businesses for success. These are digital labels, wide-format printing, and packaging.
1. Demand for digital label printing continues to grow
Digital label printing lets you customise labels and do short print runs, getting products into the market faster and reducing supply chain issues, especially for local manufacturers who can use digital label printers to print their own labels in house.
The market for digital label printing is growing rapidly; at Konica Minolta, we saw a 24 per cent increase in reported print volumes between March and July 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. Overall, Australasia’s share of the total printed label market is growing fast and should hit AU$945 million in 2024.
Digital label printing lets you add decorative effects like foiling and spot UV. It also provides the opportunity for personalisation, which is increasing in importance for many manufacturers. Importantly, using digital label printing technology minimises errors and speeds up processing times due to seamless workflows.
Digital label printing is cost effective because it doesn’t require expensive plates, chemicals, or related processes. This also contributes to improved environmental sustainability.
Overall, printers can attract new customers and enter new markets with digital label printing technology, presenting an ideal opportunity for local printers to position themselves for success.
2. Wide-format printing ramped up before COVID-19 and will likely see continued growth
The demand for wide-format printing has grown with organisations needing to print signage and other materials to help ensure a COVID-safe workplace for employees and customers. But demand was ramping up before COVID-19 hit and Australia is leading the way when it comes to wide-format printing.
Wide formats include self-adhesive vinyl and floor graphics, posters, banners, wallpapers and so much more. These materials can be highly impactful for businesses looking to promote their brands. And, with so many businesses looking for ways to boost their success in the wake of COVID-19, wide-format printing is positioned to see continued interest.
Wide-format printing also provides an attractive option for print businesses with a low capital investment and because it can be economical compared with other forms of printing, especially for short-run job. This makes it a useful tool for print businesses looking to diversify and attract new customers.
Konica Minolta partners with leading manufacturer HP to offer a range of wide-format printing solutions. The HP Latex Printers and Cutters offer the benefit of safe, environmentally friendly, water-based latex inks. They are safe for use in highly sensitive environments like schools, hospitals, and aged care facilities while still delivering vivid colours and striking contrast. They are also perfect for various re-design and decoration applications such as wallpapers. Because HP Latex printers deliver prints that come out dry on the same day, the printouts can be packed and shipped sooner, delivering shorter lead times and increased productivity. This means print businesses can leverage the opportunities presented by the growth in wide-format printing more effectively while keeping costs low.
And, it’s not just printing marketing materials and signage that is experiencing a surge. The growth in the construction and engineering industries has created a need to be able to scan as well as print plans, blueprints, and maps. The HP DesignJet and HP PageWide XL Production printers are purpose-built for this task and can be purchased as stand-alone printers or scanners or as all in one multifunction, print, scan and copy solutions. They are also useful to use for scanning for remote collaboration.
3. Packaging benefits from embellishments
Businesses in competitive industries know that the right packaging can help their products stand out. Adding embellishments to packaging such as foils and varnish can help businesses convey a stronger brand image that can help their products gain cut-through.
Embellishments create a tactile approach that engages more senses and evokes a sense of value and quality. Research suggests that people are more likely to choose an embellished product over a product that has no embellishing. 3D effects turn what would otherwise be a run-of-the-mill package into something entirely more attractive and interesting. It can help brands fight price erosion and generally compete more effectively even in a challenging environment.
Print businesses can capitalise on this with presses that offer digital varnishing and foiling technology in the same device that produces four-colour printing. The MGI range of products offer exceptional flexibility, embellishing over toner, inkjet, or offset print and capable of handling a wide range of media.
The Konica Minolta AccurioJet KM-1e UV inkjet press has also proven popular amongst printers with packaging applications. With the largest sheet size in its class (B2+), plus exceptional print quality and substrate versatility, this productivity enhancing press is something worth consideration. When coupled with a digital embellishment press, jobs that would otherwise be too expensive to print and embellish can now be cost-effectively produced. This opens up the potential for new customers to explore how digitally printed and embellished packaging can help their brands stand out.
The future looks bright for local print businesses
As local print businesses emerge from the disruption of 2020, it’s important to diversify their offerings, minimise costs, and attract new customers. These three key market opportunities can provide significant benefits for print businesses that can capitalise on them.
For information on how Konica Minolta can help your print business set up for success in 2021 and beyond, contact the team today.
 Peck, Joann and Suzanne B. She: The effect of mere touch on perceived ownership. Journal of Consumer Research, 2009