No.2212
09/17/2019

Digital Printing Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2019

Photobook and Business Convenience Stores Continue to Expand, DPS also Projected to Turn for the Better



Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has conducted a survey on the Digital Printing Market in Japan, and has found out the market trend by category, the trend by market players, and the future outlook. 


Market Size Transition & Forecast of Digital Printing
Market Size Transition & Forecast of Digital Printing

Market Overview

Digital printing market in Japan (based on the sales of businesses) is on the decline, decreased by 2.5% from the previous year to 315,275 million yen in FY 2017, followed by the decrease by 0.5% in FY2018 to attain 313,649 million yen.  The scale down is largely because of significant drop in project size of the large-scale BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) associated with the 2011 Japan Earthquake. The BPO projects that led the digital printing market to grow from FY2011 to FY2012 decreased its size significantly in FY2017 and FY2018. 

However, as the level of downturn in the DPS (Data Print Services) market in FY2018 was not as sharp as it was in the previous fiscal year, and as the POD (Print on Demand)* market had grown at higher growth rate, decline in the digital printing market was modest.

* POD refers to the service that creates printed materials at a required quantity when needed (= on-demand printing, short-run printing), which is a generic term for digital printing services in the printing market other than DPS/BPO (publishing, commercial printing, etc.). 

Noteworthy Topics

The “Dawn” of New Era for Personalized DM: Will it Expand?

The sales of personalized DM (creating direct mail based on data analytics to personalize the contents for target customer base) had been small; however, in the last year or two, some printing companies have begun to make some achievements.


One of the reasons is that, in recent years, increased accuracy in digital marketing that promotes personalized customization approach led the user companies to appreciate the value of direct mail once again, making them return to the direct mail as a tool with high open rate.


However, the most significant factor that called attention of user companies is assumedly the enhancement in speed that enabled the direct mail to be created in-time, with customer behavior as a starting point of customer engagement. Today, as the digital marketing spreads, one-to-one delivery timing as well as one-to-one content is being focused: Capability to deliver personalized direct mail at the right time for each recipient has become a key in grabbing the interest of the customers. To meet such needs, some printing companies automated their production lines, drastically reducing lead-time to deliver direct mail piece to the recipient as “in time” as other digital tools.


Previously, the personalized direct mail was not popular among user companies because its ROI (return on investments) was unknown. However, with improvements in accuracy of data analytics and in production speed, it began to yield ROI, increasing sales of personalized direct mail in the printing companies. Meanwhile, it is true that except for the “progressive” companies, the user companies are still slow to get started with personalized direct mail because of its high cost. Market development by the printing companies in stimulating further demand for personalized direct mail is worthy of attention.

Future Outlook

Although the declining trend continues in the BPO projects associated with the 2011 Japan Earthquake, the level of decline is expected to be slight, and the DPS market is projected to make an upward turn.  On the other hand, in the POD market, the Photobook market that has gone through the price competition is on the rise again, and the Business Convenience Store market expects increase as well. The trend in digital printing market is projected to turn for the better hereafter.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: May to July 2019
2.Research Object: Major and second-tier printing companies, print-related service companies, and other related companies.
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews by the expert researchers, survey via phone, and survey via questionnaire by mail.

Digital Printing Market 2019

Digital printing market in this research refers to the materials printed by commercial digital printers and related services, produced by companies whose core business is printing. However, the market does not include printed materials produced by traditional printing devices or any services related to such printing.

<Products and Services in the Market>

Digital Printing Services [DPS, BPO, publishing, commercial printing, business form printing, office printing (business cards etc.), soft-packaging, and paper container boxes.]

Published Report

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