IDTechEx Expects Market for Fully Printed Sensors to Reach $4.9 Billion by 2031

Printed and flexible sensors constitute the largest printed electronics market outside of electronic displays. Printed sensors span a diverse range of technologies and applications, ranging from image sensors to wearable electrodes.

IDTechEx forecasts that the market for fully printed sensors will reach $4.9 billion by 2032.

This growth is expected to occur even though the largest market (printed glucose test strips) is being displaced by continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems. Many new applications and technologies will drive the growth.

New Report on Printed and Flexible Sensors

IDTechEx’s new report “Printed and Flexible Sensors 2022-2032: Technologies, Players, Markets” outlines the current status and future application opportunities in nine categories of printed/flexible sensors.

Specifically, the report covers:

  • Piezoresistive sensors
  • Piezoelectric sensors
  • Printed photodetectors
  • Temperature sensors
  • Strain sensors
  • Capacitive touch sensors
  • Gas sensors
  • Biological sensors
  • Flexible wearable electrodes

Each sensor category seeks to offer a distinctive value proposition over the incumbent technology, with distinct technological and commercial challenges on route to widespread adoption.

Despite this diversity, multiple factors are driving the adoption of many types of printed/flexible sensors. Most important is the increasing adoption of ‘Internet of Things (IoT)’ and ‘Industry 4.0’ since they will require extensive networks of often wirelessly connected low-cost and unobtrusive sensors.

Additionally, the thin-film form factor and conformality of printed/flexible sensors enable them to be incorporated within smaller devices. This gives designers greater freedom to differentiate their products and explore potential new uses.

Printed and flexible sensor technologies

Some of the most commercially promising printed and flexible sensor technologies covered in the report include:

Capacitive touch sensors. These sensors are widely used for transparent touch sensors such as smartphones and tablets. However, there is still extensive scope for innovation within capacitive touch in terms of the transparent conductive materials used, the ability to sense touch over large area displays, and alternative applications for capacitive sensing such as leak detection and interactive surfaces.

Piezoresistive force sensors. These sensors are widely used today in car occupancy sensors, musical instruments, industrial equipment, and some medical devices. While these markets are somewhat commoditized, the sector is innovating to access new, differentiated, higher-value applications. One example is 3D touch panels that can measure applied force as a function position, thus enabling the recognition of more complex HMI gestures than the incumbent capacitive touch panels. Suppliers are continuing to target phones, computer gaming, and automotive interiors.

Gas sensors.. This area is undergoing continued innovation, with emerging approaches utilizing functionalized carbon nanotubes and solution-processable semiconductors. Gas sensors are already used in many industrial contexts and are likely to be increasingly adopted as concern about air pollution grows.

One promising long-term application is the use of printed gas sensors to measure food degradation. The sensors could be directly printed onto food packaging.

Temperature sensors. These can be printed using either a composite ink with silicon nanoparticles or carbon nanotubes. Their main challenge is the low cost, lightweight, and ubiquity of very mature solutions such as thermistors and resistive temperature detectors.

Printed temperature sensors have the clearest value proposition in applications that require spatial resolution using a conformal array. For example, printed temperature sensors could be used to monitor wounds or skin complaints.

Monitoring batteries in electric vehicles is another highly promising application that is receiving increased interest. Printed temperature sensors are lightweight and could be easily integrated into pouch cells.

Overview

The report includes highly granular 10-year market forecasts by technology and application, expressed as both volume and revenue. Also included are multiple application examples, technological/commercial readiness assessments, and over 50 company profiles based on interviews with early-stage and established companies. Further details can be found, along with downloadable sample pages, at www.IDTechEx.com/flexsensors.

About IDTechEx

IDTechEx guides strategic business decisions through its Research, Subscription and Consultancy products, helping clients profit from emerging technologies. For more information, contact research@IDTechEx.com or visit www.IDTechEx.com.

Demand for Sustainable Print Technologies Will Create New Business Opportunities

More environmentally friendly printing is emerging as a key industry trend for the 2020s. This trend is examined in detail in the Smithers report “The Future of Green Printing to 2026,

Published in August 2021, the report profiles the evolution of circular economy principles, key legislative initiatives, the impact on analog and digital print processes, and all major print product segments (Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Advertising, Catalogs, Commercial, Security applications, Transactional print, Printed décor and textiles, Packaging, and Labels).

Smithers’ “Future of Green Printing to 2026” report examines the current state of green printing, shifting consumer attitudes, and the market shifts that ultimately provide the basis for the growth of green printing.

For example, brand owners and consumers are increasingly seeking and choosing solutions that minimize carbon emissions and waste. Print-service providers (PSPs), ink and media suppliers, and equipment manufacturers that invest in more sustainable solutions over the next five years are likely to be rewarded.

New Business Opportunities

The report examines specific opportunities that will evolve at each stage of the print value chain. For example:

Cutting waste in makeready and set-up will favor wider use of digital (inkjet and electrophotography) print systems. A forecast reduction in the average run length for many print jobs will magnify this impact

The rapid adoption of bio-based solvent and water-based inks will reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds.

Sales of sustainable substrates will increase, including recycled fiber and virgin paper grades from sustainably managed forests. For PSPs there is an onus to limit use of virgin materials and print on recycled paper grades when a premium surface is not necessary

Packaging designers will move away from the existing plastic packaging to fiber-based alternatives. Print-service providers can capitalize on this trend by retooling their print lines to support these less uniform substrates.

New fiber sources for printing papers will be studied, including bamboo or agricultural by-products.

Recycled plastic and biopolymer substrates will be used more widely in some packaging applications

Investments will rise in print processes that minimize the use of secondary raw materials, such as water consumption for wash off.

There will be greater support for technology platforms that enable the collection and reuse of print materials, both in industrial closed-loop and consumer recycling streams.

Reshoring production and printing will improve supply-chain security and reduce carbon emissions and wastage in transit.

Larger organizations can switch to centralized printing models, with a single server assigning job requests most efficiently across its network of presses and end-users. This can also extend into the integration of web-to-print platforms for consumer sales.

For more information, download a brochure from the Smithers website: The Future of Green Printing to 2026 | Market Reports & Research | Smithers

The Smithers Methodology

This report is based on extensive primary and secondary research. Primary research consisted of targeted interviews with printing material suppliers, converters and experts drawn from key markets. This was supported by secondary research in the form of extensive literature analysis of published data, official government statistics, domestic and international trade organization data, company websites, industry reports, trade press articles, presentations, and attendance at trade events.

Groups that can benefit from the information in this report include: print-business owners; suppliers of raw materials and consumables; manufacturers of printing machinery and equipment; print buyers; and consultants and analysts.

About the Author: David Zwang

Print and publishing consultant David Zwang has helped companies increase their productivity, margins and market reach for over 40 years. He specializes in process analysis, automation, engineering and strategic development for firms in the fields of publishing and packaging. He is currently the Chairman of the Ghent Workgroup (GWG), an international organization of graphic arts users, associations, and software developers that is building best practices for publishing and packaging workflows.

Sales of Printing and Finishing Equipment to Rebound in 2021

Data from the new Smithers report – The Future of Print Equipment to 2026 – show that the value of global sales of printing and finishing equipment fell from $17.3 billion in 2019 to $13.2 billion in 2020. It is expected to rebound to $15.9 billion in 2021.

Smithers’ expert forecasting finds that sales value will struggle to recover to this pre-pandemic level after
this initial rebound in 2021. Their analysts believe the market for printing and finishing equipment will be essentially flat, with a -0.2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for 2021-2026 at constant prices.

This challenging outlook will place a premium on new technologies, value-adding systems and services plus greater automation as print-equipment manufacturers seek to maintain profitability.

To see the complete infographic with data about specific types of printing, visit: https://www.smithers.com/resources/2021/june/infographic-overview-of-print-equipment-markets

Geographic and Segment Differences

From 2021-2026 the largest growth market for equipment sales will be in Asia, especially
India and China.

Demand will decline in both Western and Eastern Europe.

North and Latin America will also see moderate rises in equipment sales by value over the period, of close to 1.0% CAGR.

The seismic impact of 2020 is being felt in all printing and finishing technology sectors and geographic markets, but not equally. Smithers’ analysis shows that a few segments will continue to expand through the 2020s as the buyers and print service suppliers adjust to a business environment reshaped by the experience of the pandemic.

The most severe effect will be in sales of analog platforms used in commercial print and publications, with some smaller print service providers pushed out of business. These applications were already in decline with falling print volumes across the 2010s. Now exacerbated by Covid. Smithers forecasts a -1.9% decline year-to-year for analog equipment over the next 5 years.

Overall increased demand for packaging presses and digital technology will largely balance out
this decline in demand for analog publishing presses, however.

Across the Smithers forecast period, the installed base of digital presses will grow overall, with electrophotographic presses adding particularly to the installed base.

The installed base of inkjet presses is forecast to be essentially static between 2021 and 2026, as the removal of wide-format presses compensates for greater use of single-pass and sheet-fed units in packaging and other alternative applications.

A leading trend that has seen a marked acceleration in 2020 is the shift to shorter print runs,
which is shifting the per unit print costs in favor of digital (inkjet and electrophotography)
presses.

Digital equipment is easier to integrate with e-commerce, web-to-print and print-on-demand service models, which are increasingly popular. Digital equipment can also deliver value-adding variable
data print.

In the short-term. many technology leaders are more focused on incremental improvements to existing platforms, until revenues recover. Tighter budgets mean there will also be more pressure on printing equipment manufacturers to revise their ink pricing strategies.

Traditional analog press builders are innovating in this space. Automation in prepress, on-press plate making and automated wash up will be priorities for analog press manufacturers to boost
operational effectiveness and maintain margins and profitability.

The cancellation of drupa 2020, and a reduced attendance at virtual drupa 2021, has broken
the industry’s reliance on this key event in the print calendar. This is leading firms to
investigate new online sales and marketing channels to engage with a global customer base
and demonstrate their latest equipment.

This matches with the imperative to offer more direct remote service and support online as Covid restricted on-site visits. Direct remote service and more online support will remain highly effective and low-cost means for both problem-solving and preventive maintenance, with conventional technology now supplemented by mobile and augmented reality systems.

About the Report

The Smithers “Future of Print Equipment Markets to 2026” report looks at the growth of the print equipment market across all key segments and geographic regions. It also examines the downturn in 2020 and reviews the extent and rate of recovery.

The focus of this report is on the print equipment used for commercial, packaging and production printing by print service providers (PSPs) and by packaging converters.

This report is based on extensive primary and secondary research. Primary research consisted of targeted interviews with printing material suppliers, converters and experts from key markets. This was supported by secondary research in the form of extensive literature analysis of published data, official government statistics, domestic and international trade organization data, company websites, industry reports, trade press articles, presentations, and attendance at trade events.

The primary author is Jon Harper Smith. His 15+ years of printing industry experience includes working with Fujifilm and industrial and package-printing businesses.

For more information about the Smithers report and the types of charts it contains, visit: https://www.smithers.com/services/market-reports/printing/future-of-print-equipment-markets-to-2026

For more information about Smithers, visit: https://www.smithers.com/about-us

Agency EA Reports Findings from 2021 State of Experiential Marketing Research

Until 2020, experiential marketing projects nationwide provided a steady stream of opportunities for wide-format graphics providers to vehicle wraps, pop-up event structures, temporary signage, backdrops, and custom props and environmental graphics. But this work dried up instantly as in-person gatherings were halted due to COVID-19. So what does 2021 look like for experiential marketing?

Agency EA, an award-winning brand experience agency in Chicago, has announced the findings
of its fourth annual research study on the state of experiential marketing. The industry-wide
survey looks at anticipated trends impacting experiential marketing in 2021 and
beyond.

Agency EA 2021 Experiential Marketing Research Study Cover

This year’s proprietary research study asked representatives of Fortune 500 companies, top agencies and vendors questions about:

  • their perspective on industry spending,
  • factors impacting in-person programming,
  • the most effective virtual event tactics, and
  • the best use of experiential investment when budgets were drastically cut

Below are a few findings from the report:

  • 60% of brand-side marketers continue to invest in experiential as a way to effectively connect with their target audience.
  • 66% of brands noted that their budgets decreased with the transition to virtual events.
  • More than 1 in 3 marketers anticipate growth in their organization’s experiential budget within the next 18 months.
  • 90% of brand-side marketers say they agree that virtual and hybrid experiences are critical to their organization’s success.
  • 60% of those brand-side marketers look at virtual events as a short-term solution to global social distancing policies rather than a long-term investment.
  • 90% of brand-side marketers continue to stand behind the effectiveness of in-person events as being a vessel to connect and strengthen their organization’s relationships with their customers.
  • Brand-side marketers agree that engaging and connecting with their audience, capturing audience attention, and organic networking opportunities are the biggest challenges when planning virtual or hybrid events.
  • 72% of brand-side marketers are relying on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine as an indicator of when they can transition to hybrid experiences.
  • 72% of event marketers agree that attendee safety/security and health/wellness are key issues to address in 2021 and beyond.
  • 88% of attendees feel more connected to a brand after an in-person, rather than a virtual event — proving the value of face-to-face experiences.

About Agency EA

Agency EA is a full-service brand experience agency that connects brands with their target audiences through hybrid and virtual events, strategic marketing campaigns, digital engagements, and experiential activations.

The company began as Event Architects in 1999 with just two employees and two clients. They primarily produced events for Chicago-area companies. In 2011, the company rebranded as Agency EA to better serve clients seeking full-service agency capabilities.

In 2020, Agency EA became a division of the EA Collective. The other two divisions in EA Collective include: Storyhorse and Studio Sage. :

  • Storyhorse is a brand-development and storytelling agency that helps clients with research and strategy, messaging and visual identities, style guides, and rollout tactics.
  • Studio Sage is full-service, state-of-the-art broadcast and green screen studio. Specialties include webcasts and webinars, virtual events and conference broadcasts, and corporate and brand videos.

“Working together or independently, our divisions help strengthen our clients’ brands, engage their target audiences, and optimize value,” says Gabrielle Martinez, co-founder of EA Collective. “Every journey is unique, and our clients can choose a custom solution, partnering with one, two or all three of our divisions as an integrated team.”

For more information visit: 2021 State of Experiential Research Study Findings – Agency EA

5 Takeaways from Wide-Format Printing Insight Days at PRINTING United

As part of the 14-day PRINTING United Digital Experience, industry analysts and business owners discussed growth opportunities for wide-format graphics producers in the post COVID-19 era.

Five themes dominated the outlook sessions, keynote presentations, and panel discussions during the Wide-Format Hardware and Consumables Insight Day (October 26) and the Wide-Format Workflow and Finishing Day (October 30).

Download a guide to each topic covered during the 14 days of the PRINTING United Digital Experience: » Virtual Publication Bin (printingunited.com)

Before COVID, graphics business owners expected 2020 to be a banner year.
In this keynote presentation, Tim Greene, research director of IDC, noted in Q4 2019, 86% of the companies surveyed said large-format graphics work was still growing and 83% said profit margins had grown over the past two years.

The Q4 2019 research also showed that 76% of large-format shops were considering new market opportunities and 83% had planned to invest in different types of printing and finishing equipment.

Business owners in the panel discussions said January and February of 2020 were fantastic months and the year was shaping up to be one of their best years ever.

The COVID-19 shutdowns in March and April 2020 disrupted major segments of the large-format business. Trade shows and events were cancelled and steep declines in travel and tourism devastated the demand for graphics in airports, theme parks, hotels, restaurants, and other venues.

According to NAPCO Research Principal Analyst Lisa Cross, 87.5% of the participants in the study of COVID-19 Business Indicators said their sales declined in March and April. The average sales decline was 52.3%.

In a panel discussion about the future of signs and graphics, two executives of wide-format graphics firms said the COVID-19 shutdown “was a jolt to the system” and “just seemed to happen overnight.” Business owners said they had to make changes quickly, save cash, and prepare to capitalize on the rebound.

The versatility of wide-format printing and finishing equipment enabled companies to pivot to fill immediate and evolving needs. Companies that served essential businesses such as healthcare facilities, grocery stores, and big-box retailers acted quickly to fill immediate needs for social-distancing graphics, safety posters, and window and curbside graphics to announce new pick-up areas and services.

Some trade-show exhibit companies designed and built pop-up shelters for COVID testing centers or temporary medical facilities.

One graphics display company owner said their company not only pivoted to personal protective equipment, but also to corrugated packaging: “That business increased exponentially”

Another wide-format display company executive said the laser fabric cutter the company purchased to make dye-sublimation fabric displays was put to work cutting fabric for face masks and other garments: “It helped us get through the periods when we didn’t have any other work.” The automated cutter freed the sewing employees from having to stop, measure, and manually cut fabric.

During the spring and summer of 2020, wide-format graphics producers started selling new types of signage. For example, when spring graduation ceremonies were canceled, savvy graphics producers created a demand for personalized yard signs and hanging banners to honor individual graduates.

The reopening of restaurants, healthcare waiting rooms, stadiums, and offices led to an expanded range of orders for all types of safety and social-distance signage, including plastic dividers in bars and restaurants, seat barriers, and photo cut-outs to represent fans in the stands.

Now, some acrylic booth dividers are being printed to enhance restaurant decor and social-distancing floor graphics are being updated with brand advertising or holidays messages.

By July and August, wide-format graphics producers were showing some first signs of recovery. Compared to the March/April time period, 38.6% of respondents to NAPCO’s COVID Business Indicators research said their sales activity rose in the July/August 2020 period, 35.5% had more work-on-hand, and 41.7% were doing more quotes.

Not all wide-format print businesses were equally impacted.
According to sign and graphics research conducted by Keypoint Intelligence, 57% of survey respondents said revenues declined by 21% or more during the first four months of 2020. Another 25% of responses reported sales declines of 20% or less. A fortunate 3.4% saw an increase in revenues of more than 10%.

In a panel discussion about capital investments in the shadow of COVID-19, the owner of a trade printing service, said April was a good month for them because they specialized in printing short runs of yard signs. Throughout the spring, they printed thousands of yard signs for dozens of customers who wanted to express appreciation for health care workers and recognize middle school and high-school graduates.

Several panel-discussion participants noted that larger graphics companies with diverse capabilities were better positioned to pivot and survive the year of COVID-19. They predicted smaller mom-and-pop shops with limited equipment and marketing resources would continue to struggle.

One business owner admitted that pivoting to new products isn’t always easy. He likened it to asking an offensive lineman on a football team to suddenly play wide receiver.

Some owners continued to make capital investments, but admit the margin for errors is shrinking and timing is very important. Experienced print business owners know that marketing and advertising budgets are among the first to be cut during economic slowdowns. But they are also the first budgets to be ramped up during a rebound.

One participant commented that in the 2008-09 recession, “We were too slow to make painful cuts, and slow to add capacity to handle the rebound.” He hopes to avoid that situation this time..

“As an entrepreneur, I am always quietly optimistic,” said one owner. Even in the midst of economic downturns, “There is an opportunity in there somewhere.”

Owners are looking ahead to 2021. The large-format business owners who participated in the PRINTING United panel discussions are cautiously optimistic. But they realize that some markets and consumer behavior have changed forever.

While in-person trade-shows and events may re-start in 2021, the live shows are likely to attract fewer people. And, the role of retail stores may have been permanently changed by the surge in online shopping.

Andrew Paparozzi, chief economist, PRINTING United Alliance,. predicted that the real post-COVID recovery will start happening only when we have learned to live with COVID, and people feel comfortable traveling again.

He said participants in the “COVID-19 Print Business Indicators” studies were anticipating growth in online sales of print products and seeing new opportunities in anti-microbial graphics, complex display fabrication, interior decor, and specialty graphics.

IDC analyst Tim Greene agreed that new types of applications will fuel the recovery. For example, although branded hand-sanitizer stations don’t involve large amounts of printed graphics, businesses can make nice margins by fabricating the stands and selling them for use in offices, manufacturing facilities, schools, and other locations.

Printed graphics with QR or NFC codes could support redesigned “touchless” retail environments and printed backdrops might be useful for corporate sales and administrative personnel who continue to video conference from home. The many restaurants and other businesses now offer home-delivery services may want vehicle wraps or graphics.

Analyst Lisa Cross noted that one reason large-format graphics producers are resilient is because almost any surface today is a blank canvas for digital printing. Surfaces can be printed with either decorations to enhance the ambience or brand messaging

A graphic printing business owner affirmed that observation:“Our wide-format segment will continue to grow. People are putting large-format printing on more and more things in creative ways.”

Some owners believe that new customers they picked up during COVID-19 disruptions will continue to do business with them during the recovery.

Greene believes some companies will stabilize their businesses by continuing to expand the ancillary services they were planning in Q4 2019. Some of the most frequently mentioned services that large-format graphics providers planned to add include:

  • Design services (57.2%)
  • Installation (43.3%)
  • 3D printing services (40.2%)
  • Sign permitting (33.5%)
  • Pre-site consultations (27.3%)
  • Packaging or package prototyping (25.8%)
  • Digital signage/digital display assembly (25.3%)
  • Label printing (24.7%)
  • Digital signage/digital display content (24.7%)
  • Direct-to-garment T-shirt printing (24.2%)
  • Narrow format printing (20.1%)
  • Interior decor applications (20.1%)

“COVID-19 has accelerated the need for businesses to evolve,” said Greene. Wide-format graphics companies can evolve in many directions and produce many types of products to reposition their shops for recovery and growth.

He advised print-business owners to develop detailed and data-oriented plan and to continue to invest in production technologies that enable their shops to produce a wider variety of applications,

All of the wide-format graphics presentations and business-leader panel discussions on Day 1 and Day 5 of the PRINTING United Digital Experience can be viewed online at no charge until January 31, 2021. Visit: https://www.printingunited.com/ to register and access the video presentations.

Recommended Resources

PRINTING United Guide to Day 1: Wide Format Hardware and Consumables

PRINTING United: Guide to Day 5: Wide Format Finishing and Workflow

NAPCO Research: COVID-19 Print Business Indicators. Volume 1, No. 3

What Actions Are Groups Taking to Promote An Event Industry Rebound from COVID-19?

Graphics companies have been hit hard by the cancellation of events, trade shows, and conferences in 2020. Here are just three steps that event-industry thought leaders and organizations are taking to encourage an event-industry rebound.

Promoting the Economic Impact of Events to Legislators

The Go Live Together coalition is working to ensure that when the COVID-19 health crisis is over, the voices and concerns of the live event industry will be addressed in local, state, and federal recovery funding. Coalition members come from exposition management companies, associations, convention and visitors’ bureaus, event venues, and exhibiting companies.

The coalition contends that events are a massive incubator for innoavtion and economic growth. Recovery funding will not only help the events industry, but the recovery of the economy as a whole.

Go Live Together members are using press releases and infographics to help local, state, and federal lawmakers understand the economic impact of the trade show and events industry. For example, here are some statistics published by Go Live Together.

The trade show and events industry:

  • contributes nearly $1 trillion annually to the U.S. economy
  • employs 3 million workers,
  • pays $130 billion in federal, state, and local taxes.

Source: Go Live Together Infographic: Business Events Industry Impacts from COVID 19

For more information, visit: https://www.golivetogether.com/

Planning a Three-Phase Comeback

In a post How and When Will the Events Industry Get Out of This?” event industry strategist Howard Givner compares the comeback from COVID-19 to the event-industry’s comeback from 9/11: “Those of us old enough to have been of working age during the aftermath of 9/11 will attest to the fact that nobody can point to a date or even a period of time when the events industry started to feel ‘fully recovered’ from its effects.”

Givner suggests that the event-industry recovery will occur in three phases:

1) Pure Virtual;
2) Local Events that meet state guidelines for gatherings; and
3) Full-Steam Ahead (with instant on-site testing).

“One good thing to come out of all this is we finally – FINALLY! – have the entire world’s attention on the importance of live events,” writes Givner. Now that live events have been removed from our lives, “Everyone is pining away to attend their next music festival, industry conference, strategy meeting or trade show, to experience all those great things that events offer.”

Gathering Opinions from Corporate Exhibit Managers

An article by Travis Stanton in the June/July 2020 issue of Exhibitor magazine provides insight into when face-to-face marketing might resume.

Read the article about the impact on the Pandemic on the Trade Show Industry on page 50
in the digital edition of the June/July 2020 issue of Exhibitor magazine.

In Exhibitor magazine surveys of corporate exhibit managers and trade-show suppliers:

  • 52 percent predicted the industry won’t return to normal until the second quarter of 2021
  • 13 percent said they don’t expect normalcy until 2022
  • 5 percent questioned whether trade shows will ever return to business as usual.

One director of event marketing quoted in Exhibitor article pointed out that even if event ROI is difficult to measure, businesses were able to see the overwhelming value lost by event cancellations in 2020.

The full white paper “EXHIBITOR Insight Report: COVID-19’s Impact on the Trade Show Industry is available at www.ExhibitorOnline.com/COVID19.

Future 100 Report Discusses Trends Affecting Brand Marketers and Retailers

The Innovation Group of J. Walter Thompson intelligence has published their annual Future 100 report. Described as a “snapshot of the year ahead,” the report discusses 100 trends that brand marketers and retailers should know about. Print-service providers that serve brand marketers and retailers should be aware of these trends too.

According to Lucie Greene, worldwide director of the The Innovation Group, “2018 looks set to be the year in which 5G and augmented reality (AR) drive massive change in our interactions with the internet — we’ll be able to shop from our cars and visualize furniture in our homes before deciding to buy it. And, rather than being described as ‘the future’ at tech conferences, this will happen en masse.”

Here are some other trends noted in the report:

Transcendent Retail

Voice technology, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence will transform the retail industry. Customers will expect retailers “to link their online and offline worlds to create a seamless, intuitive customer experience that makes buying products quicker, easier, and more enjoyable.”

Pared-Back Retail

Not all retailers will follow the trend toward overblown, immersive experiences. Some brands will choose to pare it back to appeal to consumers who dream of a simpler, cleaner life. Some brands will adopt no-frills, black-and-white packaging that is more functional than promotional.

Staffless Retail

Some retailers are testing staff-free convenience stores that enable shoppers to purchase products without any human interaction.

URL Goes IRL: E-Commerce Comes To Life

Some e-commerce brands are testing ways to make their brick-and-mortar stores look like the physical embodiment of a lifestyle blog. Like WeWork for retailing, owners of brick-and-mortar stores might rent out temporary physical space in their stores to independent online brands.

Death of the Beauty Blue Chip

The power of blue-chip beauty brands is giving way to startup, indie beauty brands that know how to generate a lot of excitement on social media. In response, some big beauty brands have started acquiring new young brands and offering them the scale of sell niche offerings on a global level.

Brandlessness

Disruptive new companies sell premium beauty, personal care, and groceries at a fraction of the cost of branded equivalents. These direct-to-consumer goods are designed to appeal to digital-first Millennials who are less susceptible to traditional branding and advertising.

Manufacturing 2.0

Hyper-personalized manufacturing is set to transform the way we shop. According to the report, the highly automated Adidas Speedfactory in Germany is designed to quickly produce small-batch designs for specific markets. By cutting production cycles from months to a single day, manufacturing can catch up to the speed of online ordering.

Virtual-Reality Theme Parks

Virtual reality experiences will breathe new life into theme parks and other entertainment venues. Munich-based VR game developer Holodeck VR is targeting shopping malls, sports halls, and casinos.

The trends in the 200-page Future 100 report are group in categories, including lifestyle, culture, retail, tech and innovation, travel and hospitality, brands and marketing, beauty, food and drink, luxury, and health.

If you serve customers in any of these fields, it can be useful to know what trends they are following.

About the Innovation Group

The Innovation Group is the futurism, research, and innovation unit of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence. The Innovation Group charts emerging global trends, consumer change, and innovation patterns and translates these patterns into insights for brands.

 

Trend Report Shows Changing Role of Print in a Digital World

A trend report “Hello, Print in a Digital World 2018” illustrates more than 70 creative ways brands are combining the tactile, sensory nature of print with the real-time technological powers of digital. Thanks to augmented reality technologies or specialty inks, printed billboards, posters, magazine ads, and packages are serving as platforms to more engaging and immersive digital experiences.

The report was written by Michael Chase, Chief Marketing Officer at St. Joseph’s Communications, a full-service, smart-content factory that helps brands navigate the world of omni-channel communications.

Chase introduced the Print in a Digital World report in a presentation at PRINT 17 last fall. He points out that “We are in an information revolution powered by the intersection of two of the most commanding knowledge transfer mechanisms of our time — the Gutenberg Press and the Internet.”

Instead of relying solely on digital content to generate likes, retweets, and clicks, many marketers are finding innovative ways to integrate printed materials into their campaigns.

For example, below some case studies featured in the report:

McDonald’s Canada turned ordinary drink trays into the McDonald’s Boombox.

Travelers on Emirates airlines could scan their amenity kits to unlock augmented reality content such as games and travel tips.

French retailer Castorama created interactive wallpaper that allows children and parents to enjoy storytime together.

An SS+K ad agency holiday greeting card included a custom-designed Google Cardboard mailer that connected recipients to an 360-degree virtual reality bobsled ride.

Google and Vogue collaborated to bring voice-activated content from the print magazine to Google’s Home device. By prompting Google Home to “Talk to Vogue” users can access behind the scenes audio content from selected celebrity interviews.

IKEA “Cook This Paper” campaign used food-safe ink on parchment cooking paper to produce illustrated, interactive recipe posters. At-home chefs added the designated ingredients, rolled them up the parchment paper, and popped the creation into the oven.

Samsonite printed a specially designed sheet that customers convert into a handle-like, paper “Weight Tag.” When customer wrapped the tag around the handle of their luggage and picked it up, they could determine if their packed luggage exceeded the 50-lb. restriction set by most airlines. Special perforations on the tag snapped off when the weight exceeded 50 lbs.

ASICS used thermochromic ink to publish a print ad that folded out to create a mat that readers could step on to see the shape of their foot. A chart on the ad talked about what types of shoes were best for specific foot shapes.

Crust Pizza used capacitative touch technology from Novalia to create vinyl outdoor advertising posters that could play music. The posters encouraged passers-by to remix music on a pizza-shaped DJ deck.

About St. Joseph Communications

St. Joseph’s Communications in Toronto began as a printing company. Today, printing is just a portion of what they do. In addition to printing catalogs, custom publications, and packaging, they assist brands with omnichannel marketing, including digital production, digital signage, augmented reality, social media, custom videography and photography.

 

Innovation Group Report Highlights Trends in Retailing

If your graphic communications company serves retailers, you may be interested in the retailing trends outlined in the “Frontier(less) Retail” report from The Innovation Group of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence. The report was produced in partnership with WWD (Women’s Wear Daily).

According to Lucie Greene, worldwide director of The Innovation Group, the current retail landscape seems to be borderless, blurred, and amorphous: “The physical and digital realms are set to merge in new ways with the introduction of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things.” Boundaries are collapsing everywhere.

“Geographic territories as becoming increasingly meaningless as retail goes truly global,” says Greene.

Even the idea that a product must be something tangible is changing. The report points out that “Customers now accept the digital, the nebulous, the ephemeral, and even the borrowed, as well worth spending money on.” Instead of spending money on physical items, customers may forgo buying products in favor of more experiences.

Greene believes retailers today have a permanent need for agility: “Even companies that embrace transformative innovation are finding that the pace of change, rather than being incremental, is far more rapid than they could ever have imagined.”  She contends that “A seamless commerce experience is paramount.” A minimal gap between inspiration and purchase is the key to success.”

The Frontier(less) Retailing report discusses the state of retailing in 2016. It explains the interaction of trends such as: ubiquitous digital commerce; artificial intelligence in retail; and the use of immersive digital technologies to create memorable experiences in flagship stores, parks, museums, and public spaces.

If you believe digital signage might reduce the demand for printed graphics, this report could change your perspective. To produce memorable, immersive experiences, retailers are likely to require an imaginative blend of display screens, decorative graphics, and three-dimensional themed furnishings.

The Innovation Group analysts note that “Digitizing stores shouldn’t be about slapping screens on every possible surface. It should be about using technology to create a greater sense of engagement with the physical space and the products on display.”

About The Innovation Group

The Innovation Group is J. Walter Thompson’s futurism, research, and innovation unit. It charts emerging and future global trends, consumer change, and innovation patterns, then translates this information into insights for brands.

WWD provides information and intelligence to senior executives in the global fashion, retail, and beauty communities.

Why The Competition for Tech-Savvy Designers is Heating Up

If you are having trouble finding tech-savvy design professionals to help your business serve clients who want more than print communications, there’s a good reason. A new wave of opportunities for designers is coming from technology companies, start-ups funded by venture capitalists, and professional services companies.

Since 2013, companies such as Google, Facebook, AirBnb, IBM, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Accenture, PWC, and Shopify have been acquiring digital design firms with expertise in fields such as user experience, app development, creative technology, industrial design, and video storytelling.

Instead of hiring graphic designers and other design professionals to aid in short-term, campaign-related projects, these big technology and professional services companies want design teams that can assist in planning and developing new products and digital experiences for their customers.

Design in Tech

In his 2016 “Design in Tech” presentation, John Maeda, design partner of the venture capital firm KPCB, attributes the recent wave of acquisitions to the growing importance of customer experience as a competitive advantage.

He cites a Temkin Group study that shows that if people have a positive emotional experience with a company, they are 6 times more likely to buy from that company, 12 times more likely to recommend that company, and 5 times more likely to forgive a mistake.

Design In Tech Report 2016Maeda believes a new type of design is emerging that will require designers with skills that are radically different from classic design disciplines such as a graphic communications, fashion design, architecture, interior design, and landscape design.

When designing for digital experiences, he says, “Design isn’t just about beauty. It’s about market relevance and meaningful results.”

Instead of spending weeks or months to create a “perfect” design for traditional distribution channels, designers of digital experiences can have their work instantly delivered to hundreds of millions of users. The design will never be “final,” but continuously evolving through continuous testing and data analysis.

Because classic design and design thinking are not the same as computational design, Maeda believes “The general word – ‘design’ – will come to mean less as we will start to qualify the specific type of design we mean.”

Computational designers will be business-savvy professionals who know how to use research and data analytics in their designs. In addition to coding and testing skills, computational designers will need to be able to design systems and cultures.

Design Education is Lagging

Maeda predicts “The large influx of designers into top services companies through mergers and acquisitions activity will reboot the design industry,” predicts Maeda. “We will see more designers becoming investing partners at VC firms, and eventually starting their own funds.” He said many designers in tech are active angel investors.

Because this new field of design is still evolving, it has been difficult to traditional design schools to adapt their programs. Maeda notes that, “Currently design education lags behind the technology industry’s needs for data-oriented, coding-enabled graduates with business acumen. Many resources are available on the internet to supplement formal education in design. Becoming a skilled self-learner is a critical skill for a new designer.”