Worldwide supply chain and forecasting conglomerate Smithers Pira has come out with a bold prediction for the digital textiles industry; it has valued the current market share at approximately $1.2 billion in 2016 and predicted a year-by-year growth rate of 12 percent by 2021. This prediction, if it bears out, would have the digital textile market doubling in value over the next five years. Others, by including digitally printed fabric for home decorating and clothing, have suggested even higher growth curves.
Massive Increase in Digital Textile Production Predicted
In addition to its market segment prediction, Smithers Pira has also predicted a correspondingly titanic growth in the actual production of digital textiles. In 2016, inkjet equipment printed a volume of approximately 870 million square feet. By 2021, the firm predicts an output more than double that of 2016—1.95 billion square feet, amounting to a 17.5 percent compound annual growth rate.
One of the primary reasons for this prediction is that, despite the growing popularity of the digital inkjet printing on textiles, it’s a relatively low percentage of the worldwide market share. Digital printing is responsible for only two percent of the world market share—currently overshadowed by traditional dye and printing techniques.
For consumers, the primary appeal of a digitally printed textile is the extensive amount of customization and unique patterns available to create one-of-a-kind, unique household products, and apparel that would be cost prohibitive to create with traditional, large-batch textile creation methods.
Market Penetration Could Near Seventy Percent
Because of this, digital consumption is poised to spike as large, traditional firms merge and form new conglomerates that quickly merge their technologies and research ways to lower the price of ink, printheads, and machines. Should digital ink printing manage to bring its price down to parity with other methods, Smithers Pira predicts a market penetration of nearly 70 percent within the next five years, which would be a massive revolution for the normally staid textile market.
Obviously, this growth is not sustainable in the long run, but the firm remains confident that there are many high-growth regions for this emerging technology that will continue to yield great ROI and grow quickly as the technology and processes associated with this relatively new printing method continue to evolve and develop.
Clothing and Household Textile Dominate, with Signage and Displays Growing More Slowly
Clothing is predicted to be the segment of the digital textile printing market that will grow the most quickly, followed closely behind by household textiles—bed sheets, blankets, towels, etc.
Signage and displays are predicted to lag behind a bit but are still slated to maintain a double-digit annual growth rate through 2021—adding up to the greatest absolute increase in value for that market segment in the 2016–2021 market period.
The Future Is Bright for Digital Textile Printing
While this prediction by Smithers Pira is aggressive, it’s certainly within the realm of possibility, and the firm has done its homework. As the price of digital textile printing falls, and the quality and customizability of these products continue to rise, you can expect to see a giant boom in this market segment in the next half decade and beyond as growth levels off but continues to rise steadily.