While industry at large and governments have been insisting on the concept of paperless office, contrary to popular opinion, actual prints are going up, say printer industry players. Digital technologies that enable individual customisations have helped in the exponential increase of prints over the past decade.
“Work patterns have changed from print and distribute to distribute and print. For example, these days banks send statements through emails as opposed to sending printed copies by post,” explained Balaji Rajagopalan, who is the executive director of technology, channels and international businesses at Xerox.
“The assumption is that the number of prints is reduced but in reality most customers prefer printing the statements and filing them for future use. Moreover, as digital copies are available, users print multiple copies as and when required,” Rajagopalan elucidated further.
He also cited the example of fliers that come along with bills. Most customers do not even take a look at the fliers and the copies end up in trash bins. Of late, companies have been customising bills with the help of digital printing so that specific offers intended for individual customers are sent out as part of the bill copy and customers at least look at the offers.
Though the fliers are done away with, companies are making good use of the bill copies and are continuing to print, he added.
On the other hand, weddings are always a gala affair in India. We don’t shy away from spending our lives’ savings in just one wedding.
Apart from several businesses, including that of catering and decoration that are cashing in on this market, the digital printing segment is also the one that is solely thriving on this.
Weddings are not going to go out of fashion in India in the near future and people want their wedding memories to be captured with the best of technologies available.
“Wedding is a huge market. Let’s say 40 crore people are of marriageable age in India at any point in time. Even if only 20 crore of them opt to get married, you have 10-crore marriages. At least three albums get made for every wedding for various occasions. Indians spend about Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per album. That is the size of the market we are targeting,” said V Balakrishnan, executive general manager of the marketing division of Konica Minolta, India.
The Japanese major whose name was synonymous to photography, terminated all its camera, photographic and processing products and services in 2006. Since then, it has been focusing on other areas including production printing, optics technology, medical imaging, measuring instruments, inkjet print head and solutions for planetariums.
The company that was selling only through distributors, directly ventured into India in 2010. It had less than 4 per cent share in the market then. Konica Minolta realised the need for direct presence in India given the huge opportunity, Balakrishnan said. It has now grown to be a sizeable player in the large-format printing segment, he further added.
India is one of the very few markets in the world where digital printing is growing at a compounded annual growth of about 23 per cent.
Though consumers in general are trying to reduce prints, overall print volumes are going up because India as an economy is growing. Weddings are a saving grace and there is enough space for all players to grow.
Moreover, with the help of digital technologies, people are also printing more photographs of all life events and creating albums for keepsakes.