Opening Up a World of Wide-Format Printing Opportunities with Interior Décor
When a print provider takes into account that the interior décor market has experienced double-digit growth since 2016, it only seems logical to try and enter that market in the most strategic means possible. That statistic, shared by Angel Georgiou, senior marketing specialist, Imaging Supplies Wide Format, Canon Solutions America, Large Format Solutions, opened a webinar last week on how printers can utilize technology to enter the flourishing interior décor market. During the webinar, which was hosted by Printing Impressions and sponsored by Canon Solutions America, Large Format Solutions, she went on to explain that the significant growth the market segment has seen won't slow down any time soon.
"Industry leaders say the growth will continue at least through 2023-2024," Georgiou shared. "And we don't see any change in that based on what we hear from customers."
Not only will the interior décor segment continue to grow steadily, there are applications for all types of situations. Although it began with wall coverings, the segment has expanded to include a variety of applications, such as window graphics, floor graphics, custom 3D cut outs and gallery canvas wraps.
One of the driving factors behind the steady growth and expansion of interior décor applications is the ongoing advancement of inkjet technology and substrate options, Georgiou said. New solutions have facilitated the growth with a wider variety of material options and faster turnaround times.
However, it's not only technology that has been a driving force behind the growth of the interior décor segment. She explained that humans spend 80% of their lives in interior space, making it an integral part of our existence and therefore the perfect palette for personalization and customization. Because of this, businesses and personal spaces — both indoor and outdoor — are seeking graphics to energize office meeting rooms, customize restaurant dining areas and differentiate apartment complexes. The gamut of possibilities gives ample opportunities for print providers with wide-format printers to provide customers with interior décor solutions.
If a printer isn't sure where to begin with the production process, though, Georgiou explained there are many ways to produce these types of applications. It is just a matter of confirming the details of the application.
"How and where it will be installed will help guide you to the materials to use for the job," she said.
This is where applications come into play. Georgiou explored the various interior décor solutions, including walls, windows, floors and free form.
When it comes to wall coverings, she explained that the spread of choices have significantly expanded in the past few months. They can be custom designs produced with digital printing, something that obviously isn't an option when considering stock wall coverings. One thing she recommended specifically, is that if a printer is doing a custom digital interior job with a more durable wall covering with paste, hiring a digital wall covering installer is practical.
Moving to windows, she stressed that windows serve as another messaging opportunity in a variety of spaces. Digital printing specifically allows for expansion into window applications, with the added benefit that they're easy to install and can be removed and replaced quickly.
Floor graphics are another opportunity for brand messaging, and because there has been an expansion in materials, it's a growing trend for outside spaces.
Interior free form, though, is the application space that Georgiou thinks is the area most open for exploration.
"Bring your imagination to this part of the presentation," she said, "because this is where you can decide to create something and it's ultimately up to what you have in your shop to what you can create."
As for the technology to enter the growing interior décor market? Georgiou explained that there is no single device that can do everything, but there is a "best" choice for each application.
Georgiou then turned the presentation over to Mark Zimmerman, president of Spectrum Print Plus. He explained how Spectrum entered the wide-format market three years ago with an Océ Arizona 365 GT flatbed printer from Canon Solutions America, but realized it needed a roll-fed printer, which is what attracted it to the Océ Colorado 1640.
Adding the Océ Colorado 1640 printer has opened up new opportunities that Spectrum couldn't quote on previously, Zimmerman said. Now, the company can show customers unique solutions, like ceiling murals or floor graphics, which can now be produced in-house.
According to Zimmerman, his company's sales tripled in 2018 because of the Océ Colorado 1640 printer.
The end of the webinar included a Q&A to address audience questions. When one viewer asked what materials and inks are best suited for outdoor durability, Georgiou recommended laminating anything that will be outside for longer than a few days and explained that there are different wet-strength papers that will hold up better in environments that are wet.
As for the range of margins printers can expect, Georgiou explained that it depends on running costs and printers should understand what those costs are before entering the lucrative market. Zimmerman gave some firsthand experience by explaining that although it depends on the job, Spectrum typically sees a 30-40% margin, or more, on wide-format jobs. He added that it is the most profitable part of his business.
A common misconception of the interior décor market is that the only medium is fabric, but that isn't the case. However, Georgiou explained that although it is growing in interior décor, it requires certain materials and technology. Interior décor encompasses all of the various applications, with walls, windows and floors being major areas of opportunities. To start though, she recommended having a few different types of wall covering materials, especially vinyl, which is big in the U.S. market. It's also advisable to have window products.
"Give yourself a spot for something in each application, because one leads to the next," she said. "If you do windows for someone, the next thing they're going to ask for is a floor graphic. It all goes hand in hand."
Stocking a variety of materials, though, isn't always feasible for every operation, so Zimmerman suggested keeping an inventory of five or six core materials for each wide-format device you have — flatbed and/or roll-fed.
Although the webinar was held on March 26, you can still register and download the full presentation today to view on-demand. To learn more about the opportunities in interior décor and to hear from experts using the technology needed to enter this growing market, register for "Interior Décor - The Wide-Format Digital Printing Opportunity Awaits!" now.