A recent report from Boston, MA-based I.T. Strategies reveals that inkjet printers designed for garment decoration enjoyed an installed base of more than 12,000 units in 2007—a number that the consultancy expects to grow to almost 51,000 by 2010. But perhaps more staggering is the notion that the retail value (what the customer pays for the final product) will soar from an estimated $3 billion in 2007 to more than $12 billion in 2010.
I.T. Strategies splits these systems into two categories: low end (sale price of less than $50,000) and high end (sale price of more than $50,000). Of these, I.T. Strategies predicts that more than 90% of the installed base will be low-end printers, representing more than 48,000 installed units by 2010. The installed base of high-end direct-to-garment printers is expected to reach almost 2500 by that time.
According to I.T. Strategies, those who will purchase direct-to-garment inkjet printers fall into three categories: screen printers and embroiderers who are already in the direct-to-garment decorating business, those who print T-shirt transfers today with thermal transfer or color electrophotographic systems, and new ventures, such as Internet retailers and photographers who have never participated in the garment-decoration market.
"The growth of the flatbed inkjet segment is based on the fact that there is an existing market for printing on T-shirts,” says Patti Williams, consulting partner at I.T. Strategies. “Flatbed inkjet printers for printing directly onto finished garments will be bought by current garment printers/decorators, such as screen printers and embroiderers. Inkjet printers are already, and will continue to be, purchased by companies new to garment decoration, such as Internet retailers CafePress and Zazzle; event printers who will take an inkjet printer to state fairs, sporting events, or pet shows and print garments on site; and photographers who see an additional income stream by offering their images on garments and bags.”
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