European digital label press installations overtook conventional press sales for the first time in 2017, according to the latest Finat Radar.
Published twice a year by the international label association, the Finat report compiles focused research and analysis based on surveys conducted by LPC, and looks at the trends and developments in the European label and narrow web industry, its markets and its prospects.
In addition to data and analysis obtained from the Radar Converter Survey, the ninth edition of the report contains a section on the evolution of digital printing, and the inaugural edition of the Finat Digital Press Index, which lists press installation volume figures from every European digital label press manufacturer for 2017.
The latter found that, with nearly 300 digital press installations, 2017 was the first year that the volume of newly added digital label presses surpassed that of new conventional label press installed volumes.
Finat said this trend looks set to continue, with 45% of Finat printer/converter members surveyed indicating they will be purchasing a digital press over the next 18 months, with inkjet projection volumes surpassing toner-based and hybrid system projections.
The report also included details about investment levels for digital presses. Nearly 60% of digital presses sold into the European marketplace in 2017 were in the price range of €250,000 (£225,000) to €750,000. 10% were priced below €250,000 and 8% were more than €1m.
The survey also asked respondents to rate specific technical application areas and to indicate their criticality when it comes to customers and prospects.
More than one in four printers/converters asked said the ability to offer digital printing capabilities was critical, while only 4% said the ability to offer digital was ‘not important’.
After digital, the next most-critical ranked criteria included removable adhesives, low migration inks and extended text/extended content labels.
Separately, Finat said historical Radar analysis has often indicated that the highest growth sectors for printers/converters were the prime label markets of food, beverage, health and beauty.
However, respondents to this year’s Radar Converter Survey indicated that 2017 was a year of robust growth in markets such as automotive, consumer durables and industrial chemicals.
The only prime label market that was among the four highest growth sectors for 2017 was the beverage segment.
Finat president Chris Ellison said: “Again and again, brands claim that their label solutions providers offer more innovation and agility over other packaging sector providers, and Finat’s Radar helps our members assess their own performance against the industry average.
“It helps them make informed decisions about their business strategies going forward.”