Calendars, UV and packaging driving ink market in India

Rise in UV inks for printing for business cards

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.

UV inks
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.”

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.


Standard printing ink segment to grow strongly due to rise in high-end application

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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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