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Thermal Transfer Ribbons Market Size, Share and Industry Analysis Report by Product (Wax Ribbon, Wax Resin Ribbon, Resin Ribbon), Printing Head Type (Flat Type, Near Head), By Application (Mobile Printer, Desktop Printer, Industrial Printer) and End-user Industry (Entertainment & Hospitality, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail, Transport & Logistics), , Regional Outlook, Growth Potential, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2021 – 2027

  • Report ID: GMI4915
  • Base Year: 2020
  • Report Format: PDF

Industry Overview

Thermal Transfer Ribbons Market revenue was USD 1,099.5 million in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.8% from 2021 to 2027 owing to favorable trends associated with the healthcare sector and a positive outlook of the manufacturing sector.

Thermal transfer ribbons consist of a roll of clear plastic (PE) film, which is coated on one side with a colored pigment or ink. This coating can be formulated with either resin, wax, or a mixture of both, depending on the printing requirements. This ribbon passes over the thermal print head and the coated side is pressed against the label surface. The heat produced during the process enables the pigment to bond with the label surface.

Thermal Transfer Ribbons Market Outlook

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Increasing population along with rising urbanization & growing disposable incomes has proliferated the global retail sector. The growing demand for several consumer goods, such as white goods, electronics, and home appliances, among others, will support the retail industry growth. Asia Pacific accounts for the majority of the global population. Furthermore, the expanding middle-class population along with modernization efforts in the region has boosted considerable growth in the online retailing and e-commerce sectors across the region.

The growing global retail industry has generated a huge demand for thermal transfer ribbons. Growing requirements for high-resolution images, the product’s ability to be used on a wide range of substrates, and high resistance to chemical & external environment conditions are bolstering product sales. In addition, product development and advancements in thermal transfer ribbons along with growing product usage in the food & beverages industry will drive the thermal transfer ribbons market share.

Thermal transfer ribbon manufacturing uses several materials such as base paper, protective coating, thermal element, ink, and other components. Furthermore, the costs of these components, such as thermal transfer printhead and its accessories, are much higher. Thermal transfer ribbons are widely used in several industry labels, mainly in the food & beverages industry. The ink & label materials should comply with several stringent regulations & certifications. It is important to ensure that non-hazardous materials are used in the product for food safety. This may increase the production costs of the ribbons.

Thermal transfer ribbon label systems need to pass several national & testing certifications to ensure regulations & compliances of several countries. Chemicals used in the ink need to comply with REACH regulations, one of the stringent regulations adopted by the European Union, to ensure minimum hazards on humans and the environment. Additionally, thermal ribbons use poly-based carriers, which are developed from crude oil products. Growing environmental concerns along with stringent environment regulations may hamper the thermal transfer ribbons market growth over the study timeframe.

Wax ribbon will capture the majority of the market share

Thermal Transfer Ribbons Market by Product

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The wax ribbon segment will generate a demand for over 3 billion square meters by 2027 in the thermal transfer ribbons market. Wax thermal ribbons are the most economical variety in the thermal ribbon range and are suitable for general-purpose printing on paper stocks. This range also offers superior abrasion, resistance, and excellent print quality on normal & rotated barcodes in coated & uncoated papers. These ribbons have a low melting point and therefore high printing speeds can be achieved. These types of ribbons are used for short-term labels such as mail, warehouse, and retail. The best print results can be achieved on uncoated plain paper stocks.

Flathead will gain significant traction during the forecast period

Thermal Transfer Ribbons Market by Print Head

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Flathead printing segment will grow at a CAGR of 5.1% from 2021 to 2027. It utilizes black ribbons to print multiple applications on multiple kinds of ribbon materials, such as wax, wax resin, and resin. It is used on paper materials such as vinyl, polyester, and polypropylene, among others. Flathead printing supports slower print speeds more easily, around 14ips or inches per second on average, and requires less maintenance than near edge printing, making them highly desirable over near head print heads. Flathead printers are very reliable and usually need low maintenance. Flathead printers can utilize wax, wax/resin combination, or resin (black & color) thermal transfer ribbons.

Favorable trends associated with packaging solutions will augment industry growth

Desktop printers will generate around USD 600 million by 2027. These refer to the actual piece of hardware including laser and inkjet printers used in homes and businesses. The constantly evolving packaging solutions across the globe have increased the demand for high-quality durable barcodes, tags & labels and are anticipated to garner huge revenue gains for the segment during the assessment period.

A positive outlook for the transportation sector will spur market growth

The transportation & logistics segment will generate around USD 590 million by 2027 in the thermal transfer ribbons market. Several products require abrasive resistance labeling owing to the transportation of products from one point to another in several harsh environmental conditions. The growing cargo freight trade across the globe owing to the need for speedy delivery and transportation of pharmaceutical drugs & products requires very effective chemicals & abrasive-resistant labeling products. Thermal transfer ribbons economically fulfill these requirements, thereby driving the demand for labeling products from the transportation & logistics segment.

North America will hold a dominating position during the forecast timeframe

Thermal Transfer Ribbons Market by Region

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North America generated around USD 450 million in 2020 in the thermal transfer ribbons market and is projected to continue leading throughout the assessment period. A positive outlook of the manufacturing industry backed by the presence of the latest technologies and R&D in the region, especially in the U.S. Moreover, the presence of a huge thermal printing infrastructure in this region will further augment the thermal transfer ribbons market sales throughout the assessment period. Access to a developed healthcare sector will support the industry growth.

The key industry players in the thermal transfer ribbons industry include IIMAK, ITE Thermal Firms, The Ricoh Company, Zebra, Hangzhou Todaytec Digital Co., Ltd., Honeywell International, Inc., Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., and Inkstar. These manufacturers are adopting various strategies, such as product differentiation & development, diversification of sales & distribution networks, and expansion of production capacity, to gain a strong foothold in the market.

The global thermal transfer ribbons market research report includes in-depth coverage of the industry with estimates & forecast in terms of volume in Million Square Meters & revenue in USD million from 2021 to 2027 for the following segments:

By Product

  • Wax Ribbon
  • Wax Resin Ribbon
  • Resin Ribbon

By Print Head

  • Flat Type
  • Near Edge

By Application

  • Mobile Printer
  • Desktop Printer
  • Industrial Printer

By End-user Industry

  • Entertainment & hospitality
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Transportation & logistics
  • Others

By Region

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Europe
    • Germany
    • UK
    • France
    • Italy
    • Spain
    • Russia
  • Asia Pacific
    • China
    • India
    • Japan
    • Australia
    • Indonesia
    • Malaysia
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
  • Middle East & Africa
    • Saudi Arabia
    • South Africa
    • UAE


Authors: Kiran Pulidindi, Akshay Prakash

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) :

Global thermal transfer ribbons market size was more than USD 1,099.5 million during 2020 and will expand due to significant demand of the products across healthcare, manufacturing and retail sectors.

Wax ribbons will record around 3 billion square meters demand by 2027, as the product is the most economical among all thermal ribbons and can be used for general purpose printing. The product also offers high print quality on rotated and normal barcodes over coated as well as uncoated papers.

North America thermal transfer ribbons industry share was over USD 450 million in 2020 and will expand with consistent growth of the manufacturing sector, a robust healthcare industry and the presence of large thermal printing infrastructure.

Transport and Logistics users will hold around USD 590 million share in global thermal transfer ribbons market by 2027, driven by the need for abrasive resistant labeling with expanding global cargo freight trade, need for speedy delivery of pharmaceuticals and transport of cargo across harsh environments.

Thermal transfer ribbons industry comprises if competitors like Honeywell International, Inc., Zebra, IIMAK, Inkstar, Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., ITE Thermal Firms and The Ricoh Company, among others.

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Premium Report Details

  • Published Date: Oct 2021
  • Companies covered: 11
  • Tables & Figures: 295
  • Countries covered: 19
  • Pages: 230

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