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Printing inks projected to post 1.8% annual growth rate through 2013.

The demand for printing inks is expected to increase 1.8% annually through the year 2013 and reach a value of $4.8 billion, according to the study Printing Inks published by industry research firm the Freedonia Group, Inc. While downward pricing pressures will continue to limit the value growth, demand will benefit from the shift towards more environmentally friendly ink formulations and digital inks, as well as increased ink use in the packaging market. Additives and colorants are expected to experience growth in ink products, reflecting demand for better performing printing inks with brighter, more vibrant colors.


Lithographic inks will continue to be the most widely used inks in the industry, benefiting from the strong position of lithography printing, which offers advantages such as longer plate life, higher quality print performance, and lower ink consumption than other printing processes, according to the report. However, gains will be limited by competition from flexographic formulations, particularly in packaging applications. Of the lithographic inks, web-offset types will continue to account for the majority of demand while sheet-fed offset inks are expected to register the most rapid growth.

According to The Freedonia Group report, digital inks represent the fastest growing product segment in the U.S. printing ink market. Growth is expected to be fueled by improvements in digital technology, such as print quality and speed, which will open up new applications to digital inks. Increases also reflect the tend toward customization and shorter run lengths in applications ranging from commercial printing of inserts and direct mailings to the printing of specialized designs for the textile industry. However, more rapid market penetration will be limited by the cost of adopting the new technology, including the purchase of new equipment and personnel training. Additionally, since runs of digital printing applications tend to be short, the quantity of ink consumed is smaller compared to conventional printing ink usage.


Packaging represents both the largest and the fastest-growing market for printing inks. Gains for printing ink in this market will be driven by growth in the flexible packaging segment, as more advanced ink formulations are required for the brighter colors and wider range of substrates being employed. According to the report, water-based and energy-curable inks will benefit from greater concern for environmental issues as well as improvements to these formulations, which make them suitable for use in an increasingly wide range of applications. Demand will be further aided by the increased use of digital inks in the packaging market and greater use of brand-protection products such as security inks.

For more details on the Printing inks report, contact The Freedonia Group at 440.684.9600,, or
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Title Annotation:Business & Industry
Publication:JCT CoatingsTech
Date:Apr 1, 2009
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