In 2018, over 3.1 million tons of thermal papers were sold globally and the consumption is likely to grow at a subdued rate of 2.7% in 2019, according to Fact.MR’s latest study. Retail industry continues to be the largest end-user, accounting for over half of global demand in 2018.
Macro trends impacting the retail industry are also rubbing off on thermal papers demand, according to Fact.MR’s latest study. Growing adoption of digital payment methods in retail stores is likely to result in declining demand.
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According to Fact.MR’s study, thermal papers market is likely to be complemented by steady demand from packaging and healthcare sectors.
“Thermal papers marketplace has been under the influence of a number of skirmishes wherein use of bisphenols has remained at the top of mind of thermal paper manufacturers and environmental protection agencies. However, product improvements and introduction of bisphenol-free thermal papers have sustained thermal paper utilization in traditional applications,” says a senior analyst at Fact.MR.
Application in Point of Sale (POS) Receipts Accounts for Hefty Demand
Application in point of sale (POS) receipts continues to account for a significant share in the thermal papers market. Fact.MR shows that use of thermal papers in the point of sale receipt application accounted for nearly 71% of the global demand in 2018. Point-of-sale commerce is the prime platform of bill exchange in multiple industries where cash and sometimes card-based transactions are involved.
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While estimating the future prospects of thermal papers market, Fact.MR has considered increasing penetration of e-commerce platform and digital payment methods in the retail industry leading to decreasing demand for point of sale commerce in the future.
The thermal paper industry has witnessed a number of skirmishes in the past decade. Bisphenols used in thermal paper manufacturing and associated harmful effects have been in limelight. While a handful of manufacturers have introduced bisphenol-free thermal papers, the industry witnessed a significant shift from bisphenol A to bisphenol S. And the use of bisphenol S continues to bemuse governments as its impact remain unanalyzed.
Thermal Papers with 60-80 Microns Thickness Remain Preferred among End-users
The study evaluates that demand for 60-80 micron thick thermal papers remains higher among end-users. In 2018, over 70% of the thermal papers consumed were of the thickness range 60-80 microns.
As 60-80 micron of thickness falls in the optimum range of end-user requirement of durability and more paper on each roll, Fact.MR finds its considerable consumption across end-users. Rest of the volume consumption was on account of demand for thermal papers with 80-90 microns thickness whose application remain restricted to specific uses.
Fact.MR finds that technology-wise, direct thermal technology as well as thermal transfer technology witness equal penetration, however, higher demand for direct thermal printing has resulted in greater volume share of thermal papers made for direct thermal printing. Affordability and convenience of use are prime factors that favored the greater share of direct thermal printing papers.
Thermal transfer technology is highly sought after in applications that demand a high level of product differentiation such as marketing, brand image, compact and detailed barcodes and certification labels.
According to Fact.MR, demand for thermal papers remains consolidated in North America. The estimates find that North America accounted for nearly one third of the global thermal papers consumption in 2018. Europe and APEJ followed suit in and generated comparable demand for thermal papers in 2018. Buoyancy in the end-use industries and a strong distribution network of prominent thermal paper provides in these regions are factors driving the sales of thermal papers.
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