A newly-released study into direct-to-garment (DtG) market growth from US-based analyst Keypoint Intelligence suggests that high-end/industrial machines will come to account for an increasingly large share of garments decorated with the technology in the period to 2027.

Covering the five-year period 2022–2027, Keypoint’s Global DTG Forecast estimates that some 1.2 billion pieces were produced using DtG in 2022 (a figure that showed a 26% increase on 2021), with ‘industrial high level’ DtG systems accounting for 64% of these by volume, at 750 million pieces. By 2027, this share is expected to increase to over 80%, while the total DtG volume grows to 1.629 billion pieces. By retail value, the market is expected to reach US $15 billion by 2027.

This growth at the top end of the DtG market equates to an average CAGR in printer placements of nearly 4%, but at the bottom end, where direct-to-film and some toner transfer options have been rapidly taking market share, that figure more than reverses, with a –8.1% year-on-year decline in placements at commercial entry level. Placements of DtG units of all types (dedicated DtG and laser transfer types) is estimated to have been 11,318 units worldwide.

Keypoint principal analyst – Textile & Apparel Printing Advisory Service Johnny Shell noted in a blog about the report, ‘One could conclude that the industrial DtG segments are positioned to heavily compete with screen printing in the coming years at a pace we’ve never seen before. Industrial DtG printer segments are expected to have growth through 2027, and we will continue to see advancements of DtG printers in the industrial segments that are completely in-line systems that are lightning fast and nearly fully automated.

‘On top of that, we expect to see the average installed base of industrial segment DTG devices grow as volumes move from the commercial DtG segments, which will require a prolonged hardware retirement for these devices.

‘When DtG first appeared on the market over 20 years ago, the technology was immature, unreliable, and costly. There were many doubters who said it would never take off. Today, the picture is quite different and DTG has proven to be a valuable tool for apparel decorators,’ Mr Shell concluded.