1. Is the commercial printing industry growing or declining?

Top nine printing industry trends to watch in 2024

Abstract printing technology concept
Connect BlogMay 2 2024
digital printing
design ideas and trends

The printing industry is experiencing a significant evolution in 2024, driven by technological advancements, changing consumer preferences, and a heightened focus on sustainability. As the landscape evolves, staying updated with the latest trends is vital for businesses to remain relevant and competitive.

This year, we're seeing everything from the adoption of eco-friendly printing solutions to the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Let's explore the top nine trends that are set to reshape the printing industry. We'll look at their impacts, what they mean for your business, and how GelatoConnect's platform can help you effortlessly adapt to these changes.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • The printing industry is witnessing a dynamic evolution driven by advancements in technology and a growing emphasis on sustainability.

  • This change is further benefiting the commercial print industry as they all hop aboard the technology bandwagon.

  • The shift towards personalization, sustainability, and adoption of cutting-edge technologies are what’s being integrated into traditional printing to give it a new edge.

  • The nine printing industry trends that you need to keep an eye out for are print on demand, eco-friendly printing innovations, artificial intelligence and machine learning, personalization, smart factory technologies, 3D printing, digital printing, comprehensive ecommerce integration, data analytics, and decision-making.

  • GelatoConnect's all-in-one production software streamlines print production processes, positioning businesses to thrive amidst these industry changes. It helps your printing company integrate with new technology to boost productivity, reduce expenses, and effortlessly streamline operations.

Is the commercial printing industry growing or declining?

Well, the answer might surprise you. Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of digital media, the commercial printing industry is experiencing steady growth rather than a decline. Why? Printers have adapted to the changing needs of consumers and businesses, offering innovative solutions that complement digital channels rather than compete with them. 

Here’s how:

  • Personalized and customized print materials: With advancements in digital printing technology, printers can now offer highly targeted and customized print products, catering to the individual preferences of consumers and businesses alike. 

  • Shift towards sustainability: As consumers become more environmentally conscious, there's a growing demand for eco-friendly print products and sustainable printing processes. 

  • Integration of cutting-edge technologies: Augmented reality, 3D printing, and smart packaging have opened up new avenues for growth and innovation in the conventional printing industry. 

That said, you don't have to worry about your printing business becoming obsolete. 

So, on a positive note, let’s uncover the nine industry trends that you can leverage to boost your business.

Nine print industry trends and emerging technologies in 2024

Step into the future of printing as we explore nine cutting-edge printing industry trends and emerging technologies revolutionizing the print industry.

1. Print on demand

Print on demand products

Who has time to wait for printing anymore? Print on demand is the name of the game, delivering top-quality prints in the blink of an eye. Printers are embracing the need for speed, offering quick turnaround services that deliver quality results in record time. 

Here's why print on demand is dominating the scene:

  • Immediate service: Printers are now capable of delivering top-quality prints in a couple of days, not weeks, aligning with the modern expectation for fast service.

  • Adaptation to digital trends: The shift towards on-demand printing is driven by the rapid pace of digital advancements and changing consumer preferences.

  • Support for ecommerce and personalization: The rise in ecommerce and personalized marketing strategies have increased the need for printing services that can handle quick and customized orders.

  • Impact on industry practices: On-demand prints are reshaping traditional print production, allowing for greater flexibility and faster response times.

  • Innovation and growth: This modern printing approach not only meets current demands but also drives innovation and growth within the industry.

2. Eco-friendly printing innovations

Sustainability isn't merely a buzzword; it's a way of life for commercial printers worldwide. From eco-friendly soy-based inks to recycled paper stocks, the industry is undergoing a green revolution. 

Here's why sustainability is taking center stage and reshaping the printing landscape:

  • Sustainability imperative: With climate change concerns at the forefront, printing businesses are increasingly adopting eco-friendly practices to reduce their environmental footprint.

  • Recycled materials: Utilizing recycled paper and materials minimizes waste and conserves natural resources, aligning with circular economy principles.

  • Energy-efficient practices: Implementing energy-efficient printing processes and equipment to reduce carbon emissions and operational costs.

  • Water-based inks: Water-based inks offer a safer alternative to traditional solvent-based inks, decreasing harmful emissions.

GelatoConnect's eco-friendly platform integrates with certified partners offering eco-friendly printing solutions, enabling businesses to meet sustainability goals without compromising quality or efficiency. 

3. Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Robotics in printing

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are revolutionizing the printing industry, enhancing efficiency, creativity, and customization capabilities. 

Here's how AI and ML are reshaping print production:

  • Automation: AI-driven automation programs optimize print workflows to reduce manual intervention and streamline resource allocation.

  • Personalization: ML algorithms analyze customer data to generate personalized print materials, enhancing engagement and brand loyalty.

  • Quality optimization: AI-powered image processing techniques enhance print quality by automatically adjusting colors, resolutions, and image sharpness.

  • Predictive maintenance: ML algorithms monitor equipment performance to predict maintenance needs, minimizing downtime and optimizing productivity.

4. Personalization

Personalization will be a driving force in the printing industry, enabling businesses to create tailored experiences and connect with customers on a deeper level. 

Personalization allows businesses to cut through the clutter by delivering messages that resonate with individual interests, preferences, and purchasing behaviors to create more meaningful and engaging experiences for their customers in today's highly competitive market.

Here's how personalization is shaping print production:

  • Customized content: Variable data printing allows businesses to personalize print materials with individualized text and images, enhancing relevance and engagement.

  • Targeted marketing: Personalized print campaigns leverage customer data to target specific demographics, improving response rates and ROI.

  • Enhanced brand loyalty: Tailoring print materials to individual preferences promotes a sense of exclusivity and loyalty among customers.

5. Smart factory technologies

Automated printing factory

Smart factory technologies are revolutionizing the printing industry, driving efficiency, scalability, and agility in print production processes. 

Here's how smart factory technologies are reshaping the print manufacturing landscape:

  • Automation: Robotics and automated systems streamline printing workflows, reduce manual labor, and increase production throughput.

  • IoT integration: Internet of Things (IoT) devices monitor equipment performance and gather real-time data, enabling predictive maintenance and optimizing resource utilization.

  • Data analytics: Advanced analytics tools analyze production data to identify inefficiencies, optimize workflows, and improve decision-making.

  • Agile manufacturing: Flexible production lines and adaptive processes enable quick adjustments to meet changing customer demands and market trends.

Print providers like GelatoConnect integrate smart factory practices to automate print production, enhance quality control, and ensure timely delivery of print materials, positioning businesses for success in a rapidly evolving industry landscape.

6. 3D printing

3D printing continues to revolutionize the printing industry, offering unparalleled opportunities for innovation, customization, and efficiency. The printing world is now witnessing the next phase of the 3D printing evolution: from prototype to production of printed materials. 

No longer confined to small-scale models and prototypes, 3D technologies are now capable of producing end-use parts and products with unparalleled speed and precision. 

Picture a world where custom-designed furniture, personalized prosthetics, and intricate jewelry are just a print away!

Here's why 3D printed materials are a trend to watch out for:

  • Complex customization: This form of printing enables the creation of highly customized and intricate designs, catering to unique customer needs and preferences.

  • Prototyping: Rapid prototyping with 3D prints accelerates product development cycles, allowing businesses to iterate designs quickly and cost-effectively.

  • Manufacturing: From small-scale production runs to on-demand manufacturing, 3D prints offer flexibility and scalability in production processes.

  • Material diversity: With advancements in materials science, 3D printing now supports a wide range of materials, including plastics, metals, ceramics, and even biocompatible materials.

7. Digital printing

Automated printing factory

Digital printing remains a cornerstone of the printing industry, offering versatility, speed, and quality that traditional printing methods cannot match. 

Here's why digital printing continues to be a pivotal trend:

  • Speed and efficiency: Digital printing eliminates the need for time-consuming setup processes, enabling quick turnaround times and on-demand printing capabilities.

  • Cost-effectiveness: With digital printing, businesses can produce short print runs economically, minimizing waste and inventory costs.

  • Variable data printing: Digital printing technology allows for personalized content and data printing, enhancing targeted marketing efforts and customer engagement.

  • High-quality output: Advancements in inkjet and toner-based digital printing systems deliver exceptional print quality, rivaling that of offset printing.

8. Comprehensive ecommerce integration

Comprehensive ecommerce integration is pivotal for print businesses, facilitating seamless online ordering, payment processing, and fulfillment. 

Here's why ecommerce integration is a key trend to watch for:

  • Global reach: Ecommerce platforms enable print businesses to sell to customers worldwide, expanding market reach and driving sales growth.

  • Streamlined ordering: Integration with ecommerce systems streamlines the ordering process, enhancing customer experience and reducing order processing times.

  • Payment automation: Ecommerce integration automates payment processing, improving cash flow management and reducing administrative overhead.

  • Shipping automation: Integration with shipping providers automates order fulfillment and tracking, ensuring timely delivery and customer satisfaction.

GelatoConnect seamlessly integrates with leading ecommerce platforms, empowering print businesses to offer online ordering, payment processing, and shipping automation, enhancing efficiency and scalability in print production and distribution.

9. Data analytics and decision-making

Analytics in printing

Data analytics and decision-making play crucial roles in the printing industry. They enable businesses to gain insights, optimize processes, and drive growth. 

Here's why data analytics is a major trend:

  • Performance monitoring: Data analytics tools track key performance metrics, such as production output, costs, and customer satisfaction, providing actionable insights for performance improvement.

  • Market intelligence: Analyzing current trends and customer behavior helps businesses identify opportunities for product innovation and market expansion.

  • Predictive analytics: Predictive analytics algorithms forecast future demand, allowing businesses to anticipate market shifts and optimize inventory management.

  • Resource optimization: Data-driven decision-making optimizes resource allocation, reducing waste and improving operational efficiency.

Optimize your printing company with GelatoConnect

With all these top printing industry trends making the rounds in 2024, it’s time for your business to join in this revolution with GelatoConnect.

GelatoConnect stands as the ultimate solution for print businesses seeking to thrive in 2024 and beyond. By seamlessly integrating with emerging trends such as eco-friendly printing innovations, AI-driven automation, personalized printing, and comprehensive ecommerce integration, GelatoConnect empowers you to streamline production processes, enhance print quality, and expand market reach.

With GelatoConnect's all-in-one production software, you can optimize your printing operations, meet evolving customer demands, and achieve sustainable growth. 

Take your printing business to the next level. Sign up for GelatoConnect today.

Printing industry trend: FAQs

How does print on demand (POD) revolutionize the printing industry?

Print on demand (POD) revolutionizes the printing industry by allowing businesses and individuals to print smaller quantities tailored to their immediate needs, reducing excess production and inventory costs. This model supports just-in-time production, enhances customization options, and allows for rapid response to market trends.

What role does data analytics play in modern printing?

Data analytics plays an increasingly crucial role in the modern printing industry by enabling companies to optimize operations and tailor marketing strategies effectively. By analyzing customer behavior and industry trends, printers can forecast demand, adjust supply chains, and personalize marketing materials to meet consumer needs better.

What are the current printing trends in 2024?

The current trends of 2024 are print on demand, eco-friendly printing innovations, artificial intelligence and machine learning, personalization, smart factory technologies, 3D prints, digital printing, comprehensive ecommerce integration, and data analytics and decision-making.

What environmental benefits does eco-friendly printing provide?

Eco-friendly printing practices significantly reduce the industry's environmental impact by utilizing sustainable materials and methods. These include biodegradable inks, recycled paper/fabric/or any material, and energy-efficient processes. By minimizing waste and decreasing toxic emissions, eco-friendly printing helps conserve natural resources and promotes a healthier planet.

How can AI and machine learning enhance printing processes?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are transforming printing processes by automating complex tasks, optimizing print operations, and improving quality control. These technologies allow for real-time adjustments during the printing process, predictive maintenance to prevent equipment failures, and personalized print content that enhances customer engagement. This integration leads to increased efficiency, reduced waste, and lower operational costs.


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