After months in the making, the Smithers Pira VDP Forecast 2012-2017 has finally been released. According to Pira’s numbers, the global variable data printing (VDP) market opportunity is projected to be 656,756 million sheets in 2012 (or 28% of total output in the market segments under review) and forecast to be 853,097 million sheets in 2017 (or 34% of total output in these areas).
Here are some of the points from the executive summary that I think are particularly interesting:
- The VDP market opportunity for variable data printing is at its highest in direct mail, amounting to 264 billion A4 sheets (or equivalent) in 2012 and forecast to grow by around 19% overall over the next five years. This — and this is the interesting part to me — in spite of the fact that direct mail overall is declining. Direct mail overall is forecast to decline by 0.1% per annum overall, while the VDP market opportunity is forecast to rise to 313,570 million sheets.
- While the greatest VDP market potential is coming from mature markets such as North America and Western Europe based on digital output volumes (both preprint and digital only), the fastest growth (and therefore VDP market opportunity) is coming from emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. Smithers Pira forecasts 20% or more CAGR in some of these regions.
- The shift from preprint to 100% digital production shines in these numbers. Globally, traditional print/preprint output is forecast to fall by 0.5% per annum between 2012 and 2017. Yet electrophotography is forecast to grow by 1.5% per annum and inkjet is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 14.2%. Likewise, full digital output is forecast to almost double from 8.2% market share to 14.2%.
We can also take from these data that one of the strongest trends in the growth of VDP is cannibalization within its own market — the move from monochrome to full-colour with the corresponding ability to add images and graphics. This is no surprise, of course, but it’s nice to be able to put some numbers to it. In terms of global market share, digital-only output (sheets) is forecast to rise from 8.2% of all print output to 14.2%, nearly double in five years.