Industrial, commercial and office printing sectors are driving the inkjet printhead industry development


  • From technology push to market pull, inkjet printing is entering a new era.
  • A $1B MEMS printhead market in 2021, of which $365M lies in office, commercial, and industrial printing.
  • New players want their piece of cake, but at a reasonable cost.
  • Thermal and piezo: two major technologies, two different approaches, one common goal.

LYON, France – May 3, 2016: “Within a US$ 1 billion stagnant MEMS inkjet printhead market, the industrial market segment is showing an high level of development with 16% CAGR between 2016 and 2021,” assert Yole Développement (Yole) analysts within the new report Inkjet Printhead Market & Technology Trends 2016. According to the “More than Moore” market research and strategy consulting company, the inkjet printhead industry landscape is expected to change. New players, market opportunities and innovative technologies… are the key words of the inkjet printhead industry development. Under its new report, Yole proposes an overview of the inkjet printhead industry including market figures from 2014 to 2021. The report details the technology and market trends per market segment. Yole’s analysts also present a detailed description of the current inkjet printhead technologies, thermal vs. piezoelectric as well as single-pass vs. scanning modules and permanent vs. disposable devices.

Under this new technology & market analysis, Yole highlights the following drivers:
   •  The entrance of players with new MEMS technology-based solutions, especially for commercial printing, OLED displays, printed electronics, 3D printing … applications.
   •  The move of historical firms from consumer market segment to industrial, commercial and office printing sectors: with more than 250 million disposable inkjet printheads shipped in 2015, the consumer market still offers high-volume production, but it is losing ground every year. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the printhead market for office, commercial, and industrial printing is expected to exhibit a double-digit increase from 2015 - 2021.
“Inkjet printhead manufacturers initially well-established within the mature consumer market, re-think their strategy,” comments Jérôme Mouly, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. And he adds: “They would like to expand their activities towards new business opportunities linked to the office, commercial and industrial printing market segments.” According to Yole’s analysts, these market opportunities for 2021 are estimated at US$375 million.
   •  An high market potential coming for 3D printing applications. Yole is expecting some announcements from the leader HP Inc. in 2016. With its new MEMS-based solutions, the company will confirm the business opportunities coming from 3D applications and its commitment within this market segment. According to Yole’s analysts, this application should reach 70% CAGR between 2016 and 2021, highlighting the huge potential of 3D printing.

Inkjet printing, which offers a flexible, cost-effective solution for printing personal documents, is still largely associated with home and small office printing. In parallel, large & wide format printing for CAD and graphic arts applications considers inkjet printing as its technology-of-choice for single prints and very small print runs. The democratization of digital applications in the early 2000s, spurred on by greater home internet usage and the appearance of digital cameras (which dramatically impacted the photo business), has influenced OEM printer manufacturers to develop high-quality, high-resolution printheads. MEMS technologies represent an attractive solution for creating a higher native density of nozzles-per-printheads at an acceptable manufacturing cost via mass production.
Office printing is one of the sectors that has recently benefited from MEMS printhead performance, competing with entry-level to mid-end laser printers. Moreover, the digital revolution is also gaining momentum in new sectors. For years, commercial and industrial applications have used analog printing solutions like flexography, offset printing, and screen-printing due to their high-volume production capacity and associated lower cost. However, these techniques are restrictive due to the use of a master, and not compatible with short runs < 4000m² printing surface. Today’s industrial and commercial applications require more diversity, as well as more instant service customization. Digital printing, specifically inkjet printing, is the solution to penetrating the three trillion square meters (m²) industrial market.
In the inkjet printhead report, Yole analyzes how the use of MEMS technologies is responding to market demand and how it can create new market opportunities. For example, MEMS printheads offer a high level of integration and scalability, enabling the use of single-pass printhead modules. These modules cover the entire width of the medium, thereby raising speed and productivity. Evolution of piezo printheads using semiconductor manufacturing processes will continue to improve performance, offering new market opportunities in industries like textiles, packaging, and printed electronics, and most recently in 3D printing.

A detailed description of the report is available on, MEMS & Sensors reports section.