The thermal printing market was valued at USD 40.56 billion in 2019, at a CAGR of 5.2%, during the forecast period (2020 - 2025). The growing demand for thermal barcode printers in the supply chain activity is increasing effectively. Various players are improving the technology to focus through designed with 'supply-chain-ready' functionality for printing barcode labels, tags or receipts for virtually any application in the warehouse, transportation & logistics supply chain. For instance, in May 2019, Brother Mobile Solutions, Inc. (BMS), a premier provider of mobile and desktop printers, announces the launch of its new TD 4 Desktop Thermal Printer Series. This newly unveiled product series is engineered to help the small-to-midsize business or warehouse to meet new standards of speed driven by omnichannel commerce and the striking demand for efficiency in shipping and product delivery.
- The adoption of AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture) technologies for work rate improvement is driving the market. Barcodes make it possible for businesses to reserve and access large amounts of data in regards to the product they are placed on. They are widely used in the healthcare industry and hospitals for patient identification, to access data on medical history, drug allergies and other important information.
- For instance, in Nov 2019, Printronix Auto ID unveiled the new T6000e thermal barcode printer, an enhanced version of its popular T6000 printer series with new features and advanced RFID capabilities in India. With increasing technology in thermal printing, the adoption of AIDC is growing effectively.
- The increase adoption of wireless technologies in mobile printers drives the market. With the widespread use of PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) in recent years, device makers are shifting their attention from the existing all-in-one type of mobile information devices (handheld terminals) to PDAs that can coordinate with PCs and operated under the control of commercially available applications.
- For instance, Brother's ultra-slim, a lightweight mobile printer is the ideal solution for applications that demand high-resolution text or graphics in small-format output (2.9"x4.1" or 4.1"x5.8"). With MFi Bluetooth wireless technology and across-the-board operating system compatibility, the MW Series offers easy, wireless communication with iPhone, iPad, iPod, Windows, Windows Mobile, and Android devices. Moreover, wireless printers can communicate via radio frequency communication at 2.4GHz and it can communicate with Bluetooth-enabled phones within 33 feet.
- However, there are limitations to these printers, as this type of printing is usually very hot, the excess heat is usually detrimental to the print head, thus repair and/or replacement costs becomes high.
Scope of the Report
Thermal printing is a digital process used in producing printed images by particularly heating coated thermochromic paper, or thermal paper. Thermal printers are extensively used in small, medium, and large businesses mainly through barcode, label printer under various industries such as retail, healthcare, supply chain, etc to label and, subsequently, track the products to be shipped.
Key Market Trends
Retail Holds the Significant Share in The Market
- With increasing retail stores globally, barcoding technology is becoming an essential component of a lean, agile retail business. Keeping goods moving and monitoring them on their path simultaneously is a struggle for many businesses. In addition to standard printers for receipts and invoices, by adding a barcode creator to the mix, owners can create labels needed to organize inventory and files, ship items and more. Making barcodes from durable, fade-resistant, heat-sensitive label stock ensures that the efforts at the organization won't be destroyed over time.
- Many players are showcasing new technology for enhancing intelligent printing solutions for the evolving payment. For instance, in Nov 2019, BIXOLON announced that they will be showcasing the SRP-Q300 3-inch (80mm) Direct Thermal cube desktop printer series which offers flexible mPOS printing at competitive pricing. This thermal transfer printer is ideal for inventory management and retail labeling.
- China's economy appears to be stabilizing gradually, uplifted by rising industrial production and higher foreign currency reserves. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, Chinese retail sales were up by 9% in 2018 versus a year earlier, roughly in line with that reported in the past year. However, due to the increase in retail chain stores, the usage of thermal printing is increasing.
- Also, various players are improving label technology to improve the shopping experience. For instance in Sep 2019, Avery Dennison officially launched its first I.Lab Intelligent Label Solutions innovation space in China at its plant facility in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province that will provide live demonstrations to help converters explore the opportunities surrounding smart labels. China's 'New Retail' revolution is designed to provide consumers with a seamless, fast, and convenient shopping experience.
North America Account for Significant Market Share
- The North America holds the major market share in the thermal printing market owing to the increasing demand in retail applications, such as smart packaging, inventory management, and warehousing and transportation and logistics applications. Many North American retailers have already made the migration, trading their impact printers for more advanced, thermal-only solutions. Enterprises are placing greater emphasis on minimizing the cost to print, environmental impact, maintenance, etc.
- The existence of significant players in the region such as Zebra Technologies, Honeywell, Avery Dennison, etc serves highly in retail, transportation and logistics industries, which is expected to further boost the thermal printing market in North America. For instance, in Sep 2019, Epson America introduced four new additions to its ColorWorks on-demand color label printer lineup which are C6000A, C6000P, C6500A, and C6500P. The new ColorWorks C6000 family delivers a comprehensive range of capabilities to meet the requirements of the most common thermal transfer applications.
- Moreover, Zebra is one of the largest converters of thermal supplies in North America. Featuring the largest selection of pre-tested, high-quality labels, tags, receipt paper, wristbands, cards, and ribbons, Zebra provides a solution for virtually any application. Due to its largest distribution in this region, the market for thermal printing effectively grows year to year.
The thermal printing market is fragmented in nature as various global and local players are in the race to innovate new technologies under thermal printing to improve the efficiency of work under various end-user industries. Key players are Zebra Technologies Corp., Sato Holdings Corp., Honeywell International Inc., etc. Recent developments in the market are -
- Oct 2019 - Printronix Auto ID, Inc. introduced T800, a high-performance thermal desktop printer, which offers enterprise-level productivity, dependable performance, and a suite of versatile features such as RFID, and Wi-Fi with advanced security protocols.
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