Digital textile printing is all set to grow exponentially in the coming years driven by increasing penetration of this sector among Asian fabric printers, especially in textiles manufacturing hubs such as China, India and other Asian nations. A Fibre2Fashion Market Intelligence report.


Textiles printing is not a new thing in the textiles industry; this process has existed for centuries and has witnessed a long transformation over centuries. Textiles printing is done with five major methods: block printing, roller printing, screen printing, heat transfer printing, and ink-jet or digital printing.


Block printing, which is also referred to as relief printing, is the oldest method of fabric printing. This method involves printing on to the fabric by the dye being pressed from a carved object, historically wood, copper but also rubber and now many other materials. Textiles printing substantially evolved during the 18th century with the invention of roller or cylinder printing capable of printing with high speed and quality compared to block printing using series of rollers, each of which engraved with the design and capable of even print six colours at a time.


Early 20th century laid the foundation for the modern textiles printing process with the introduction of the screen printing and rotary multicoloured screen printing during the mid-20th century. Commercialisation of the digital textile printing at the beginning of the 21st century completely revolutionised the textiles printing process.


Since its introduction, this technology has attracted attention of the industry from across the world and has captured almost 2 per cent of the market share of the 30 billion sq m fabrics printing industry from virtually nil in the past one decade. It is estimated that digitally printed fabrics output is expected to cross 1 billion sq m by 2017 and 2.5 billion sq m by 2020 growing at a CAGR of 28 per cent between 2015 and 2020. Asia-Pacific, which leads the global fabrics printing industry with nearly 65 per cent of the market share, represents nearly 25 per cent of the market in the digital textiles printing industry dominated by Europe which accounted for almost half the global output in 2015.