India is among the fast-growing printing ink markets globally spurred by the rapid expansion of the domestic print market. Backed by a robust demand from key end user segments such as package printing, newsprint, publishing and other commercial printing, the printing ink market in India has seen strong growth in the recent years. Despite the growth, the Indian printing ink industry is largely fragmented with over 700 manufacturers and many players in the unorganized sector.
The printing ink sector in India is estimated to be more than 2,30,000 tons, valued at around Rs. 46.5 billion. Registering a healthy growth by approximately 7.5% per annum over the last 15 years, the printing ink market in India is believed to be dominated by non-ISO based inks in the commercial sector.
Standard inks are normally used for high-end applications, which involve printing jobs with precision and for speciality jobs like 10-micron printing. With the print industry speculated to grow at 8% per annum over the next 5 years, the printing ink segment is also expected to see a strong surge. There is now steady growth in demand for UV ink due to the increase in power-saving UV printing and the industry undergoing a switch from conventional to UV ink. Siddharth Wagal, partner, Chandana Graphics says, “There is increased demand for UV jobs. Our clients are from the pharmaceutical industry and, thus, there is equal demand for UV and matte finish for specific applications. In addition, some specialized jobs call for use of metallic ink. For the best possible results, major players across the industry rely on online UV machines.”
As per Pankaj Bhatt, proprietor of Liberty Graphics, “Looking at the rise in demand for UV jobs, we upgraded our setup with 1224 UV HDC (High Definition Color). It is one of the fastest photorealistic industrial grade flatbed display graphics printer in its class. With pre- and post-white printing, this printer enables us to print on any rigid object of media, regardless of base color.”
Shashikant G Mehta, partner, Dag Printing Inks Company, Mumbai says, “Certified inks under ISO are not much in demand. The major contribution of ISO inks is in categories like wrapping, packaging and labelling industries. We supply inks to all the printing and packaging industries.”
Standard printing ink segment to grow strongly due to rise in high-end application
Mehta believes that the print industry is under a paradigm shift where its existing works will soon be transferred to some other jobs. “We have seen many commercial players doing jobs like calendars, flyers, leaflets and others but they have all agreed to the slump in growth in the last decade. Demand for ink has been increasing in other verticals. Unlike the rest of the world, many global ink manufacturers are still happy with the Indian market for printing ink as they enjoy a strong hold over the market.
Books and on-demand publishing
Although the demand is decreasing in the commercial space, books have managed to foster and keep the market steady. Many publishers have been reaching audiences and people have started self-publishing books, which has given a boost to on-demand publishing. Acknowledging this trend, Mehta adds, “I have been receiving orders from my clients in the south who are book publishers. There is also demand from the west, especially from Mumbai and Pune, for offset inks.”
Digital imaging is replacing the design pattern in calendars, which was earlier done by hand printing. Calendars play a key role in this sector. The southern Indian is a major hub for calendar printing. Even small printers are associated with calendar printing in India. The demand and hence production for greeting cards are on the decline due to the introduction of cell phone messaging and e-greetings. Digital imaging is basically a tool to showcase one’s innovation, whether it be a printer, ink supplier, paper dealer or anyone involved in any other printing job.