You may have noticed, as Doc has, that in the past year or so there have been a lot of announcements about very high-speed, heavy duty (10 million impressions a month) color printers (mostly inkjet). These printers aren't up to the graphic quality of lower-speed toner models, but they do a competent job in adding color to what were mostly black-and-white processes. I've been wondering for a while just who is buying these machines and what are they using them for?
Well, it turns out I wasn't alone. Jim Hamilton over at InfoTrends was wondering the same thing. So he did an unscientific, but none-the-less interesting look at press releases from press manufacturers each time they sold a new machine. And what did he learn?
After looking over these releases, it's clear that transaction environments are leading the way (in high-speed press purchses). They account for about a third of the announcements in this decidedly unscientific survey. Keep in mind that the only sites that end up in press releases are ones that have agreed to be exposed in such a public fashion. Not every company is willing to do so and it is entirely possible that this could skew the results. Nevertheless, short of having a database of every single placement of these products, this selection of press releases does provide some useful insight. It indicates that a significant number of transaction environments have decided that a "white paper in, full color document out" workflow has finally become economically feasible.
Meanwhile, the use of digital color supports efforts to add promotional components to transactional documents while also bringing the added value of variable color for other purposes, such as branding.
Next in line among the sites in the press releases are book printers with 19% of the placements, followed by direct mail with 15%. "Multiple applications" sites account for 23%. These sites plan to use the device for a mix of two or three of the following: transaction, publishing, direct mail, and marketing. Newspaper sites have 6% of the total and the "Other" category accounts for just two sites, one doing a gaming (bingo) application and the other testing paper.
So it looks like the world of transactional printing is where it's happening once again. That seems to be a red-hot market as companies discover the power of transactional marketing. And we all know that power comes, in part, from color!