New markets abound for direct-to-garment inkjet printers, according to digital-printing research company I.T. Strategies Inc., Hanover, Mass. The company predicts that the retail value of direct-to-garment printed products will increase from $3 billion in 2007 to $12 billion by 2010. “The growth of the flatbed inkjet segment is based on the fact that there is an existing market for printing on t-shirts,” says Patti Williams, consulting partner at I.T. Strategies.
Businesses that could benefit in a big way: Internet-based retailers that can sell small runs of custom designs and ship them within 24 hours; photographers and artists; school photographers; retailers offering custom products to customers; event printers and more. “Take an inkjet printer to events such as state fairs, sporting events or pet shows and print garments on site,” says Williams. “Photographers … see an additional income stream by offering their images on garments and bags.” I.T. Strategies found that of more than 1,500 artists or photographers surveyed, 50 percent are interested in printing directly on finished garments. Read more about the research at www.it-strategies.com.