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.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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