Comment by Edoardo Cotichini, Senior Manager Professional Print, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe
Whatever happens in the overall economy at large, the printing industry – digital labels and packing in particular – will remain resilient and continue to play an important role in our everyday lives.
Any crisis, such as Corona Virus, will accelerate trends that were already under way. They include the drive towards automation, online print purchasing and web-shops, plus, of course, the unstoppable analogue to digital transition.
The IDC “Western Europe Digital Label and Packaging Printer Forecast, 2020-2024” makes it clear that brand owners will play a pivotal role in a changing world from analogue to digital printing in labels.
Converters increasingly will look to digital print offerings
The report reveals that, by vendor, Konica Minolta captured 19.1% market share in western Europe for digital label and packaging printer in shipments and value in 2019.
That also reflects Konica Minolta’s own experience as increasing numbers of traditional label printers are asking for advice on the shift to digital. Konica Minolta remain confident heading into 2021 because digital printing is the only technology capable of delivering short to medium runs, with a quick turnaround time.
Konica Minolta sees growing demands for complete start-to-finish manufacturing process, as well as a need for production devices that need fewer and less-skilled operators.
Looking to the future, Konica Minolta know that labels will continue to form the supply chains of basic necessities and provide a vital tool to convey information. Healthcare, pharmaceutical and food & drink sectors are among the sectors that will continue to be growth areas for digital label printing in the future.
Konica Minolta has announced the launch of a new optional Flexo Printing Unit for its AccurioLabel presses to enable inline production of white and other colours. First unveiled as an overprinting unit at Labelexpo just over a year ago, the retrofit option will enable label-converters to advance their digital solutions.
Digital label technology will continue to expand
Digital label technology will continue to expand into traditional flexo territory. From discussions with customers, it’s clear that label and packaging converters are being forced to expand their digital print service offerings as traditional offset / flexo volumes erode over time.
In the first lockdown in spring of 2020, Konica Minolta’s own research showed that page volumes in terms of linear metres printed on Konica Minolta AccurioLabel presses across Europe jumped to 150% in March 2020 – at the peak of the lockdown – compared to the previous month.
A digital trend that will continue unabated
It’s a market that will continue to grow sustainably, particularly as consumer behaviour continues to develop. More working from home or from regional offices, low numbers or individualised offers are increasingly in demand. One example is the development in the food trade, from regional manufactures to micro-breweries. The trend will continue unabated. Labels will play an increasingly significant role.
As a global technology provider with MJ Flood as a local service structure, Konica Minolta still see significant opportunities in the years ahead for digital printing with their toner technology. Labels is a market Konica Minolta entered barely four years ago, yet already they’ve captured virtually a fifth of the printer shipments in value in the digital label market for label and packaging.
We all recognise that the ongoing Covid-19 situation has created unprecedented challenges, but there is hope for a return to a ‘new normal’ with vaccines now available.
As always, we will ensure that our supplies and services to our customers will remain constant and secure into 2021 and beyond.