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Industrial printer shipments up 17% despite supply challenges

New data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Industrial Printer Tracker shows industrial printer shipments grew 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2021, with full year shipments up by more than 17% over 2020. IDC predicts stronger shipment numbers in 2022. 

 ind printers idc.jpg

"Shipments were slower in the second half of the year than the first half in most regions," said Tim Greene, research director, Hardcopy Solutions at IDC. "We're hearing about supply chain and inventory challenges from many of the global suppliers. 

“Despite this, printer shipment numbers for the year were much stronger than 2020. And, with the exception of North America, the global market is still not back to pre-pandemic shipment levels."

 idc q4 2022 table

  Worldwide Industrial Segment Highlights for Q4 2021

  • Large format digital printer shipments grew 3.2% worldwide in 4Q21 compared to 3Q21.
  • Dedicated direct-to-garment (DTG) printer shipments declined 3.5% sequentially in 4Q21. IDC believes this is partially due to the impact of aqueous direct-to-film printers.
  • Direct-to-shape printer shipments grew 10% quarter over quarter in 4Q21.
  • Digital label & packaging printer shipments declined 11% sequentially in 4Q21.
  • Industrial textile printer shipments grew more than 10% in 4Q21, continuing a strong performance for the full year 2021.

Regional Analysis

  • The strongest growth came from the Central Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEMA) region which saw shipments grow more than 26% quarter over quarter in 4Q21.
  • Total shipments in the Asia/Pacific region (including China) were essentially flat for 4Q21.
  • Japan and North America both declined in 4Q21 when compared to 3Q21.
  • Shipments in the Western European market grew nearly 14% quarter over quarter in 4Q21.
  • The Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region declined 12.5% compared to Q3 2021.

Outlook for 2022

  • The year 2021 was considerably better than 2020 as a whole and there are still important segments of the market such as the trade show business that has not fully resumed. IDC expects stronger shipment numbers driven by great demand in those segments in 2022.
  • Mix changes drove a separation between shipment trend and revenue trend through the course of the 2021, with more low-end units sold which subtracted revenue from the worldwide industrial printer hardware market.

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Industrial Printer Tracker provides total market size and vendor share for five major market categories: large format, label and packaging, direct to garment, industrial textile, and direct to shape. 

With more than 1,200 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology, IT benchmarking and sourcing, and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries.