Multi-client: The Future of Direct to Shape Printing to 2024

Direct to shape printing is an exciting area of development in the printing industry, allowing images to be applied straight onto irregularly shaped objects.


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Product type: Multi-client report
Date of publication: 02 Sep 2019
  • In recent years this area of the market has seen some dynamic developments in printing onto cans, bottles, and shaped containers across various end use categories.
  • The advance of digital printing systems has been central to this recent trend, and digital is expected to continue playing an important role in the growth and development of direct to shape markets.
  • Companies are keen to explore both the design possibilities of direct to shape, and the advantages of versionalisation and personalisation offered by digital direct to shape.
  • This can be seen not only in the promotional products being decorated with direct to shape printing, but also with the level of engagement from the packaging industry in this exciting technology.


Smithers Pira believes now is the right time to publish the definitive study on the direct to shape printing market.
Growing adoption of ‘Direct to Shape’ printing has the potential to revolutionise the packaging industry. It has the potential to reduce the need for labels and release liners, reduce inventory and work in progress will ultimately significantly reduce costs.
The study will quantify the market (volume and value) and forecast growth over the next five years based on extensive new primary research.
It will also outline the competitive landscape, regulatory environment, and forecast technology developments and scenarios to 2024. The study will provide analysis of the drivers for adoption and potential inhibitors of growth for direct to shape printing. It will also look at pricing of inks and cost models in this sector.
For further information or to participate please contact Paul Adam Tel: +44 (0)1372 802186 or 


The objectives of this project are to:

1. Quantify the market for direct to shape printing (volume and value), and forecast growth to 2024

2. Segment the market by ink type, substrate, product type, end-use application, and region

3. Explore pricing trends – such as ink costs, print job costs and speeds

4. Profile key players

5. Understand end-user preferences, unmet needs and pain points based on primary research

6. Analyse key drivers and trends – such as demand for personalisation

7. Identify potential inhibitors of market growth – such as perceptions of print quality

8. Investigate use of combinations of inks, coatings and substrates – for instance barriers and varnishes, laminates, plastic coated papers, adhesion etc.

9. Explore the regulatory landscape – such as printing for food packaging applications, recyclability requirements

10. Examine likely technology developments, and breakthroughs of cutting-edge technologies, to 2024.


This report will segment the market data as follows:
Ink type
  • Radiation curing (UV / electron beam)
  • Solvent-based
  • Water-based
  • Metallic
  • Other
  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Paper and board
Print process (focus will be on digital, but with coverage of analogue technologies)
  • Digital
    • Inkjet
    • Electrophotography
  • Offset
  • Screen
  • Pad printing
Product type
  • Bottles
  • Cans
  • Rigid packaging
  • Flexible packaging
  • Cups
  • Tubes
End use
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Healthcare (pharmaceuticals)
  • Cosmetics
  • Home care
  • Transport (aerospace)
  • Miscellaneous and promotional items: toys, souvenirs etc.
  • Western Europe
  • Central and Eastern Europe
  • North America
  • Central and South America
  • Asia-Pacific
  • Middle East and Africa