Dye sublimation printing is set to grow by over 10% per year between now and 2027, led by textile printing, according to a new report.

The global value of dye sublimation printing is forecast to reach more than £12 billion (€14 billion) in 2027, returning to growth after contracting due to the Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

The new report, The Future of Dye Sublimation to 2027, from data and compliance specialist Smithers, notes that markets “substantially recovered” and resumed historical growth rates of more than 10% a year during 2022. It forecasts that, on average, the dye sub market will continue growing at this rate until at least 2027.

With growth led by textile and apparel printing, the positive outlook is also expected to benefit from supply chain restructuring which will “reduce costs and delivery uncertainties”.

The report noted that textile printing led the “consumption” of dye sublimation printing in terms of physical volume while apparel application and printing on rigid substrates together generated most of dye sublimation revenues.

Report author Bob Brothers said: “The increased use of digital printing enables just-in-time manufacturing to shorten supply chains and delivery times, reducing inventory losses and carrying costs. The industry is anticipating evolutionary improvements in print line speeds, print quality and significant process integration over the coming years.”

After studying the market for dye sublimation globally, Bob noted that vulnerabilities revealed during the Covid-19 pandemic have prompted the industry to begin diversifying supply chains. “Dye sublimation print providers and their customers are developing ‘re-shoring’ business models which bring product manufacturing and printing operations closer, in geography and time, to the brand owner and retail shelf.”

However, he added: “Coordinating these activities with value chain partners could prove to be a challenge for the industry. Significant development effort is also focused upon improving direct-to-fabric and direct-to-garment dye sublimation printing processes.”