TrendWatchGA Report Shows Digital Press Manufacturers Sharing the Equipment Market with an Unlikely Competitor...Copiers, Desktop Inkjet and Laser Printers

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There is no question that digital printing is growing steadily, having become one of the major printing processes in professional print production today. But while growth in this market is good news for manufacturers of digital presses, it is likely that they never counted on having to share the equipment market with copiers and desktop inkjet and laser printers. But that is exactly what is happening. Digital press manufacturers spent their energies and resources to develop the digital printing and VDP marketplaces, then manufacturers of copiers and other printing devices swooped in and reaped the benefits. So how big a competitor to digital presses have digital copiers and desktop printing devices become? A significant one. According to our data, these devices are outputting much of the industry's pet applications, including VDP.

New York, NY PRWEB) March 16, 2006 -- TrendWatch Graphic Arts has released the industry's first report on digital color copiers, black-and-white printers, and even desktop printers as competitors to toner-based digital presses for key digital printing applications, including short run digital and variable data print (VDP). "Copiers & Printers: Serious Competitors in the Digital Print Marketplace" is a 119-page report that takes a comprehensive look at the expanding use of these devices in the commercial print production environment.

The report analyzes the use of digital copiers and desktop printers in the larger short-run color and VDP production environments and the growing acceptance of these devices, not just among small firms, but among mid-sized firms and established digital printers. Data includes how volumes of high-speed black-and-white printing, color copying, and digital color printing are increasing or decreasing.

"Copiers and Digital Printers" also takes a look at the issue of variable data printing specifically and the rapidly growing adoption of digital color copiers and desktop color printers for this purpose. Detailed survey data is bolstered with interviews with printers around the United States who are being highly successful using this equipment to service this market.

Survey data include both top-line numbers, and breakdowns by graphic arts segment (commercial printers, trade shops, quick printers, and digital printers), as well as by employee size category.

Key conclusions from the report

Digital color copiers and desktop color printers are no longer "second class" options for outputting key digital printing applications. In many cases, they are printers' first option and preferred long-term solution.

In fact, the data show that respondents to TrendWatch GA's Printing #22 survey were more likely to cite "short-run color with color copiers" than "short-run color with digital presses." Printers may complain about "copier quality" in public, but in private, they know that it is salable copy --- and that's what matters.

Printers have always used digital copiers and desktop devices for commercial print production, but that use is becoming more sophisticated. These devices are being used to churn out very sophisticated applications, including variable data print. The data from several business classes indicate that there may be excellent opportunities for manufacturers of digital copiers to make a serious marketing push in these markets.

"All of this data begs the question: If digital printers aren't afraid of using copiers and laser printers to output short-run digital print and VDP jobs, why should the rest of us be so snobbish about it?" says Heidi Tolliver-Nigro, author of the report. "This goes back to the superiority of business model over output technology. Printers with the right business models and selling practices (i.e. business development) should be able to sell VDP output on any technology, including a laser printer. And, apparently, they are."

News Highlights

37% of digital printers see "short-run color with color copiers" as a top sales opportunity for their businesses --- up from 28% of graphic arts firms overall;

Since Q2 2000, the rate of growth for "short-run with color copiers" as a sales opportunity has been greater than that for digital color presses. "Short-run color with digital presses" experienced 190% growth between Q3 2001 -- Q4 2005, while "short-run with color copiers" grew at 230%

Nearly one in 10 large shops (20--49 employees) sees "VDP with color copiers" as a top sales opportunity for their businesses;

25% of graphic arts firms currently say that their primary VDP output device is a color copier.

The percent of digital printers who are relying on desktop inkjet/laser printers as their primary VDP output device more than tripled over six months, from 3% to 10%;


TrendWatch Graphic Arts Special Report "Copiers & Printers: Serious Competitors in the Digital Print Marketplace" is available for purchase by visiting the secure TrendWatch Graphic Arts eStore online at The price for the 119-page report is $995.

About TrendWatch Graphic Arts

TrendWatch Graphic Arts specializes in the assessment of trends and changes in graphic communications markets by providing timely and strategic information, hard-hitting market analysis and concise expert opinion. The reports have earned the reputation for containing the most reliable and timely industry intelligence in the graphic arts and graphic design marketplaces.

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Judie Ryer
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