25 January 2011
New study says digital “tipping point” is decades away
RESTON, VA—A new study recently released by PRIMIR, a U.S. based research body for the printing industry, says the “tipping point” when digital printing will overtake offset is decades away.

The study, Megatrends in Digital Printing Applications, looked at volumes of letter-size simplex applications in 12 areas. It found that in 2009 digital pages account for 2.2% of all pages printed in North America and by 2014 that share is expected to climb to 4.1%. But digital printing is expected to grow at a healthy annual compound growth rate of 11%(See chart below for actual number).

However, the study also found that analog pages are disappearing independent of digital printing. Offset printing will experience a negative annual compound growth rate of -5% through 2014, likely due a migration to electronic means.

Figure: Trilions of letter-size, simplex production pages, North America

  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Analog Pages (in trillions) 10.06 9.56 9.11 8.71 8.24 8.08
Digital Pages 0.22 0.24 0.26 0.28 0.30 0.33

The statistics, though only tell half the story. According to Marco Boer, VP at IT Strategies, who authored the report, if you look at the dollar value of digital pages vs. offset, digital accounts for 10% of the printing marketplace.

“Digital won’t surpass offset volumes because offset is so pervasive and so low cost,” he said. But producing digital pages is more profitable. “The opportunity for printers is to find more ways of selling profitable digital pages, which entails a different way of selling printing and running a print shop,” he says.

 More details on this report will be available in a future issue of Graphic Monthly.

To order a copy of the report, contact PRIMIR.

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