High Demand for Printed Textiles: Digital Textile Printing Market is Expanding Globally
The growth potential of the digital textile ink market lies ahead: the rise of e-commerce and the popularity of customization are accelerating print on demand and expanding digital textile printing to various segments across the supply chain. The textile industry has undoubtedly become an integral part of the printing industry and thus drupa is responding to this development with a special forum “touchpoint textile” at the upcoming drupa 2024.
Ink World, the industry’s news and information provider, invited six experts in the printing sector to cast light on the benefits and the influence of digital textile printing on the global supply chain. On top of that, print specialists predict trends and the development of digital textile printing technology that is supposed to be more efficient, eco-friendly and creative than the conventional method of textile production.
The New Wave of Digital Textile Printing During COVID-19
The Covid pandemic has re-oriented the global market, as its effects have been reflected in consumer patterns as well as the late production model. Not only did online shopping experience a boom during the lockdown, but companies also tried to shorten their inventory at that time, taking into account the shipping and supply constraints. As a result, manufacturers relocated their production sites from overseas and implemented regional production.
A more efficient and less wasteful production model was born, which is also compatible with e-commerce platforms. It is widely believed that digital textile printing is the next step to a more sustainable production model of textiles and will become the standard for producers, designers and consumers.
Tim Check, Senior Product Manager of Professional Imaging at Epson America sums up the advantages of digitally printed textiles and divides them into three categories ranging from environmental through manufacturing to design benefits. First and foremost, digitally printing textiles reduce waste compared to traditional dyeing which is known to be the second largest global polluter of water. Second, the agility and flexibility of digital production and textile printing in combination can take on small boutique orders as well as large retail orders with the same equipment which makes it more attractive to manufacturers. To put it simply: At a lower cost per print and with just one button push, print on demand and its fast production allow profit from orders of any quantity. Last but not least, designers may let their creativity run wild, as there is nearly unlimited graphic and color capability compared to traditional printing technology.
To sum up, the supply chain can undoubtedly reap the benefits of digital textile printing. From the manufacturer’s perspective, meeting production and shipping deadlines will be easily achieved via this method. As a result, overstocking will be prevented. Designers will be able to produce new collections, and therefore meet the ever-changing fashion trends, while customers will satisfy their needs for customized apparel, décor and gift items. The trend of customization has been observed during the pandemic.
Kitt Jones, Co-creation Product Manager at Roland DGA explains:
“The increase in demand is largely a result of the pandemic restrictions that kept people home and allowed them time to explore e-commerce and customization options. With that boom in demand came a rapid increase in the number of shops and e-commerce sites that are offering digital textile prints. We’ve seen digital textile providers that have increased their production from 500 shirts a month to 10,000 a month.”
Various Applications of Digital Textile Printing Across The Industries
From direct-to-garment apparel to home décor and signage: the initial use of digitally printed textiles has been expanded to various segments. With reference to it, sign and display markets, for instance banners, flags, and exhibition displays, are dominated by digital printing. What’s more, digital printing in fashion is consistently growing, as fast fashion brands are adapting to inkjet technology.
Simon Daplyn, Manager of Product Marketing at Sun Chemical clarifies:
„[D]igital textile printing still only represents 7 to 8 percent of the total textiles printed, meaning the potential for further growth is significant. All of these segments will continue to grow with the addition of sports apparel and athleisure where demand is growing and the potential for digital print is strong.”
As the bed size is becoming larger, manufacturers can seek the opportunity within digital textile printing to evolve and enter the large-format DTG customization markets. Tim Check predicts that the demand for digital textile printed products will grow over the next five to 10 years and this will have an impact on other areas. Kitt Jones outlines that the evolution of inkjet textile printing will increase automation, improve flexibility and add diversification.“
Mr. Jones further adds:
“Another trend that continues to grow is customization – clients don’t want your brand, they want their brand, or a combination of both. Financially, I predict that companies that don’t evolve will fall by the wayside or move into other areas. It’s essential that you listen to and evolve with the market – if you don’t, you simply won’t succeed.”
Are you as excited as we are about the growing importance of the digital textile printing method? We cannot wait for the future innovations of cross-sectional technologies that will be presented to the global supply chain as well as at drupa 2024, especially at touchpoint textile.