Evolutionary improvements are set to enhance the versatility, durability, and efficiency of thermal printing systems as the market moves toward integrating thermal technologies into hybrid printing systems. This and other market-shaping trends are detailed in the new report from Smithers, The Future of Thermal Printing to 2027
Based on extensive primary and secondary research, the new study from Smithers forecasts that key thermal printing markets will resume strong growth trends during the 2022 – 2027 forecast period. The global market for thermal printers and media will continue to rebound from the major COVID-19 induced contractions and supply chain disruptions of 2020, 2021 and 2022.
While no significant printer and media technology developments are expected during the 2022-2027 forecast period, thermal printers and media markets are still expected to reach $45.3 billion (sales to end users) in 2027, growing at 4.4% average annual growth rate. At the manufacturer’s level, global thermal printers revenue will reach $8.9 billion and media revenues will reach $10.4 billion in 2027.
The report discusses the impact of key marketplace and technology trends upon production and usage of thermal printers and media. It also forecasts consumption by market segment, print technology and geographic segments across the forecast period, 2022 to 2027.
Advances in technology
Thermal printing technology remains integrated for many applications, including barcode labels, transaction receipts, tickets for transportation and entertainment, medical imaging and recording, identity documents and tags, and packaging systems. Improvements are being made to printer reliability, speed, cost, print resolution, colour capability, media archival performance and omnichannel communications (LAN, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Beacon, WLAN).
Global and regional trends
While thermal printing markets will continue to be driven by well-established technology and business sector trends, the risk of regional or global recession, exacerbated by inflation, during the early years of the forecast period is significantly greater than normal, report author Robert Brothers has identified.
Recovery from COVID-19 related global and regional economic disruptions are continuing in mid-2022. In most regions and segments, consumers’ economic activity has reached pre-pandemic robustness. Thermal printing markets are not expected to suffer substantially from lingering manufacturing and supply chain disruptions, notably impacting goods exported from China, according to Smithers.
The retail, manufacturing, and transportation sectors will continue as the predominant users of thermal printing systems. Moderating growth of thermal printing in the retail sector of North America, the EU region and Japan will be countered by increasing retail activity in developing economies. Increasing automation and information systems integration in the manufacturing and transportation sectors will drive demand for more, and more capable, thermal printing systems.
Ukraine – Russia conflict
The geo-political fallout from the Ukraine – Russia conflict and the intermediate and long-term effects of economic sanctions against Russia may substantially depress regional economic and consumer activity. In particular, the disruption of the Russian petroleum sector may have lasting global detrimental impacts.
There is some indication that ongoing US sanctions that are placing increase burden on the Chinese economy are forcing players in the manufacturing and export sectors to seek alternative arrangements elsewhere in Asia and beyond.
Government-led initiatives in North America and Europe continue to drive additional product labelling in the US and international markets. In the US the initiative is called the DSCSA, and within the European Union it is called the FMD. These initiatives require the use of safety features a unique identifier and an antitampering device – on the outer packaging of medicines, and these are best done through thermally printed adhesive labels, which can consist of tamper-evident fragmenting labels or simpler labels with a perforation showing they’ve been opened.