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Four Key Trends Driving Dye Sublimation

(February/March 2019) posted on Mon Apr 01, 2019

The impressive growth of dye sublimation is expected to continue over the next five years, as the once-disruptive technology aligns increasingly well with market dynamics.


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By Janine Young

Dye sublimation has been one of the most exciting areas of inkjet printing recently, and it will continue to present new business opportunities for print service providers and their suppliers, especially in the textile segment. Exclusive research from our report, “The Future of Dye Sublimation Printing to 2023,” estimates that the worldwide dye sub market rose to $8.97 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.3 percent. The strong compound annual growth rate of 10.2 percent that we’re projecting over the next five years would result in a total market value of $14.57 billion by 2023.

 

Fashion trends continue to play into the unique strengths of dye sublimation. Shown is a creation by designer Ariel Swedroe. Photo © Allana Wesley White.

Dye sublimation is a diversified market geographically with a strong presence in those countries active in the textile and fashion industries, such as Italy, India, and Bangladesh. North America, through companies like Sawgrass, ChromaLuxe, Condé, Beaver Paper, and PrinterEvolution, has played a pioneering role in the progression of the technology. In 2018, North America represented 38.9 percent ($3.49 billion) of the worldwide market, about the same as Western Europe. Italy, projected at $1.4 billion in 2018, represents over 40 percent of the total Western European market.



Globally, our forecast shows that the demand for dye sublimation-printed textiles and rigid media won’t expand quite as rapidly as it did in the first half of this decade, but this is simply evidence of a disruptive technology slowly maturing. Around the world, companies in this space are adjusting to a more competitive business environment. Smithers’ analysis identifies four critical trends for dye sublimation printing across 2018-2023.  

Higher Productivity Presses 

Dye sub equipment vendors have historically obtained new clients by selling them entry-level presses, and then providing a pathway to upgrade progressively to high-end machines via midmarket solutions. This may involve changes to modules, adding printheads, or buying a new machine at each stage. 

Demand for lower-cost production and higher volumes is driving single-pass technology, a more industrial process generally associated with high-end printers that have more printheads.


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