Digitally produced labels and packaging support brand management and provide print service providers with profitable business models
At the point of sales (PoS) - the place where purchases are made - branded companies compete for the attention of their customers. The winner here is whoever presents their products with eye-catching packaging and labels, because consumers today buy packaging and no longer just the product inside. 2019 was the year for digital label and packaging printing for printers, print service providers and converters. New technology concepts, the growing number of profitable business models, and the continuing shift to ever shorter runs and just-in-time production will continue to fuel the market in the coming months. Konica Minolta has identified four trends that printers should keep an eye on in 2020:
Digital package printing is becoming mainstream: Product manufacturers are addressing increasingly specific groups of buyers through increasingly individualized labels and cardboard boxes. The ability of their packaging service providers to deliver digital color printing is simply assumed. Research by Finat Radar shows that almost three-quarters of print buyers consciously opt for digital labels - after all, they are the best solution for the application in question. As a result, manufacturers are gaining more and more experience in digital printing processes and in selling individual labels. Other important market drivers are also more targeted marketing, lean manufacturing, sustainability and variable data printing. All of these factors will further accelerate the trend towards shorter and shorter runs in the coming year.
Packaging is gaining in importance: while many printers and converters have so far used their printing systems for digital label production, in 2020 the production of folding cartons and flexible packaging will increasingly come into focus. With tactile and haptic elements on packaging materials and creatively designed outer packaging, brand owners are further enhancing their products. Analyses by the consulting and market research company Keypoint Intelligence - InfoTrends support this statement . They predict that sales of digital color labels and packaging printing will increase worldwide to almost 800 million US dollars by 2021. This corresponds to an increase of more than 65 percent since 2016, while the value of printed products in the "print by application" sector has increased by 175 percent over the same period.
Enhancement creates added value: digitally enhanced packaging or labels that have been tactilely enhanced by coated elements in addition to 4c printing are proven to stimulate consumer buying. A study by the Foil and Specialty Effects Association shows that the time required to identify enhanced products is 45 percent shorter than for products that are not enhanced. In addition, finished products attract 18 percent more attention than pure print products. Printing service providers are increasingly taking advantage of this effect and offering their customers eye-catching packaging solutions. In 2020 this trend will be even stronger. The growing availability of entry-level solutions for print finishing enables smaller companies in particular to enter this profitable business segment. For example, Konica Minolta recently launched MGI JETVARNISH 3D One, a model of this type for UV spot varnishing.
Digitization enables new, customer-oriented business models: In the competition for customer attention at the PoS, creativity is required. New digital technologies offer innovative print service providers an increasingly broad field of revenue opportunities. Take Augmented Reality (AR), for example: the intermeshing of printed packaging with digital content such as videos or animations accessed via AR apps extends the time a potential buyer spends dealing with a product. Konica Minolta has offered such an AR solution with genARate since last year. In addition to increasing the incentive to buy, it opens up the possibility of conducting interesting and measurable advertising campaigns. In this field, packaging printers will support their customers more and more in the future. In 2020, printing companies will therefore increasingly find their contacts in the marketing departments of their customers, because the packaging of a product is increasingly becoming an instrument of brand management.
The advent of digital printing technologies for the production of packaging materials opens up a highly profitable market for printing service providers, packaging companies and commercial printers. After all, success at the point of sale is a million-dollar business for brand owners and producers. The possibilities of digital packaging and label printing to conquer this market are far from exhausted. 2020 will bring a surge of creative solutions in this field.
Visitors will get a first impression of this potential at Konica Minolta's in-house exhibition "Print Experience" (January 21-22, Langenhagen and February 11, Stuttgart) and at drupa (June 16-26, Düsseldorf, Hall 8b / A63-1 - A63-6).