Thermal printing is a digital printing process, which is used to produce a printed image by selectively heating thermal paper when the paper passes over the thermal print head. There are two types of printing technologies namely thermal transfer and direct thermal transfer. Both methods use a thermal print head that applies heat to the surface being marked. Moreover, thermal transform printing uses a heat-sensitive ribbon instead of heat-sensitive paper, in order to produce long-lasting, durable prints. Thermal printing is predominantly used for labeling shipping products and for recording live rhythm strips on hospital cardiac monitors.
The global thermal printing market is estimated to account for US$ 4,349.9 Mn in terms of value by the end of 2019.
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Retailers are consistently focused on their point of sale (POS) experience by offering rapid and efficient services to customers. Thermal printing is typically used for superior and high-speed solutions, which is not found in case of conventional impact printers. Moreover, thermal printers are cost-efficient as compared to conventional printers, thereby driving its adoption. Numerous retail stores in Europe and North America and Europe have started adopting thermal printers over impact printers. According to CMI analysis, APEJ is expected to account for around half of the sales by the world’s top fifty largest economies and would be twice that of North America, the next largest region in the retail sector in the next five years.
Increasing disposable income due to rapid urbanization is expected to create hundreds of millions of middle class households in Asia Pacific. This, in turn, is expected to drive the number of discretionary purchases especially from supermarkets and major retail stores. According to United Nations (UN), global population is expected to increase from 7.2 billion in 2013 to 9.6 billion by 2050. According to the same source, this will be coupled with growth in GDP of emerging economies such as India, Brazil, South Africa, and China. This, in turn, is expected to boost the market growth over the forecast period.
Intense competition among thermal printer manufacturers is expected to restrict the market growth in the near future. Thermal printer manufacturers situated in China and India have easy access to cheap raw materials and labors where they can price products low. This, in turn, is expected to impact global market players significantly. Increasing functionality and performance, coupled with decreasing prices in developed economies such as North America and Europe have made it challenging for key market players to compete with manufacturers from emerging economies. This is expected to hinder the market growth over the forecast period.
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Key players operating in the global thermal printing market are Zebra Technologies Corporation, TSC Auto ID Technology Co., Ltd., Toshiba TEC Corporation, Honeywell International, Inc., Bixolon Co., Ltd., Citizen Holdings Co., Ltd., Star Micronics Co., Ltd., Seiko Epson Corporation, SATO Holdings Corporation, and Brother International Corporation.
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