Thermal printing is defined as a digital printing process that utilises heat from a thermal print head to produce an image or text on chemically treated paper, also termed as thermal or thermo chromic paper. There are two main types of thermal printers, namely, direct thermal printers and thermal transfer printers. In direct thermal printers, heat sensitive or thermal paper is used, wherein characters are printed onto the thermal paper by applying varying amounts of heat. Thermal transfer printers use ribbon as their cartridges. Thermal paper is fed through the slot located between the roller and the print head and the heat then melts the substance present in the ribbon and prints the character onto the paper.

Market Value and Forecast

The global thermal printingmarket is anticipated to expand at a promising CAGR during the forecast period. Growth of the thermal printing market is mainly driven by expanding retail industry, increasing disposable income, rising global population, rapid industrialisation of emerging markets and strong distribution network of thermal printer manufacturers. Moreover, trends fueling growth of the thermal printing market are transition across various sectors to portable thermal printers, rising adoption in healthcare industry, significant growth potential in developing regions and increasing competition from Chinese vendors.

Segmentation by Technology

The global thermal printing market can be segmented on the basis of technology into direct thermal and thermal transfer.

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Segmentation by End-use Industry

On the basis of end-use industry, the global thermal printing market can be segmented into retail, transportation & logistics, healthcare, manufacturing and others. Out of these segments, retail segment dominated the global thermal printing market in 2014, and is expected to continue its dominance in the market through 2025. The healthcare segment is anticipated to record highest CAGR during the forecast period, as utilization of thermal printing technology in this segment is in its early phase of adoption in the emerging economies and is expected to gain traction across various industries in the near future.

Segmentation by Printer type

On the basis of printer types, the global thermal printing market is segmented into POS printer, label & tag printer and RFID printer. Out of these segments, the POS printer segment dominated the global thermal printing market in 2014. However, the POS printer segment is anticipated to lose market share to the RFID printer segment by 2025.

Important Regions

The report provides detailed analysis of the thermal printing market across seven major regions, namely, North America, Western Europe, Asia Pacific Excluding Japan (APEJ), Japan, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa. North America dominated the market with over 24% share of the overall thermal printing market in 2014. Western Europe ranked second with over 21% market share in 2014, followed by APEJ. APEJ is anticipated to emerge as the fastest growing region in the thermal printing market over the forecast period.

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Key Players

Key players identified in the global thermal printing market are Zebra Technologies Corporation, Honeywell International Inc, Seiko Epson Corporation, SATO Holdings Corporation, Star Micronics Co., Ltd. Zebra Technologies Corporation and Star Micronics Co., Ltd. These players focus on research and development initiatives to introduce innovative products to attain sustainable advantage over the competition. Moreover, these players also focus on expanding their global presence through strategic mergers and acquisitions and new product development.