Inkjet Printing: Creating New Possibilities in Corrugated
Inkjet is creating new opportunities and possibilities for packaging printers/converters in printing corrugated packaging. Advances in substrates, inks, decorative techniques, and inkjet printing heads for direct printing on corrugated board or preprinting liner are transforming the role of corrugated from a plain brown shipping box to a product container with high-quality graphics and print embellishment.
A special NAPCO Research report highlights how inkjet printing, brand owner demands, and market trends are elevating the quality, role, and opportunities of corrugated packaging. The report is free to download from the Packaging Impressions resource library.
Advances in printing technology, substrates, and finishing methods are expanding color and special effects options to add new quality features to corrugated packaging’s list of popular benefits — it’s strong, lightweight, made with renewable materials, and recycled at a high rate.
Here are three key takeaways from the report.
1. E-commerce growth is increasing demand for corrugated and expanding its role.
A driving force in the use of corrugated packaging as a marketing tool is the growth in consumers purchasing products over the Internet. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated online product purchases, which will likely continue as consumers have become accustomed to the convenience of online ordering and the supply chain has adapted to meeting increased volumes.
As more products are shipped to buyers in corrugated boxes, marketers are looking for ways to leverage packaging to build awareness and influence perceptions of the recipient and any others viewing the box before it reaches the final destination.
2. Sustainability is essential to brand owners and corrugated delivers.
Sustainability is an essential priority for brand owners, retailers, and consumers. Consumer demand for sustainable packaging influences designs, substrates, printing processes, and provider selections. According to a NAPCO Research survey, 75% of brand owners report sustainability is a high priority (Figure 1).
Corrugated packaging offers numerous sustainability advantages. While other forms of packaging may claim recyclability, corrugated packaging is one with a solid recycling infrastructure. Boxes are not only recyclable; they are made from a high percentage of recycled paper, including cartons or newspapers.
3. Inkjet printing offers new corrugated possibilities.
The corrugated packaging segment had traditionally been difficult for print and package providers because it required specialized printing and finishing equipment. But now, advances in inkjet printing are opening up the corrugated packaging segment and solidifying corrugated packaging’s attractiveness for both shipping the product and serving as a marketing tool.
A big factor enabling new creative techniques used in corrugated packaging is high-speed, single-pass, digital presses. Although the technology is still in its early stages of adoption, it is quickly demonstrating its value to corrugated printers and their customers.
Inkjet printing offers corrugated printers many attractive benefits. According to the NAPCO Research’s Lowering Entry Barriers in Digital Packaging Printing, survey respondents that printed corrugated packaging on inkjet devices identified the ability to print variable images/data, high quality, ease of use, faster print speeds, and lower cost of ownership compared to other printing methods (Figure 2) as top benefits. These benefits reflect the value and role inkjet printing is playing in expanding corrugated packaging’s ability to enhance customer experiences and build brand strength.
Download the Report
Corrugated packaging’s stature as a marketing and branding tool will continue to grow as brand owners become more familiar with new capabilities. Advances in inkjet technology are providing an opportunity for packaging printers/converters. Download the report for an in-depth analysis on how the latest corrugated packaging trends can enhance your business strategy and long-term growth.
Lisa Cross is the principal analyst of NAPCO Research (a unit of NAPCO Media) where she conducts market research and analysis on emerging trends and changing dynamics in the commercial, in-plant and packaging industries, and the market forces that are driving those changes. With decades of experience covering the graphic arts and marketing industries, Cross has authored thousands of articles on a variety of topics, including technology trends, business strategy, sales, marketing and legislation.