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December 4, 2023

Unpacking India's Digitally Enabled Retail Revolution

# Digital Printing
# Labels & Packaging
# Sales and Marketing

Digital printers targeting retailers in India have a 'treasure chest of opportunities,' including these two ripe targets.

Vikram Fotedar of Fotedar Engineering contributes this article on the digital printed packaging market in India:

The last decade has seen India move toward being economically inclusive and assertive in the global arena. Growing levels of disposable income, rising teledensities and COVID-related reverse migration is taking the retail revolution deep into rural India.

As e-commerce takes larger swathes of the population into its fold, there are discernible differences in consumers. Emerging demographic and behavioural clusters are driving demand for previously uncommon or completely new, categories in fast-moving consumer goods. Each cluster has its own set of functional and aesthetic expectations from packaging. This has opened a treasure chest of opportunities for brand owners both established and new.

Let's take a closer look at two such emerging groups, and how the strengths of digital print tie into their preferences.

Pet Parents

Pet ownership across India, estimated at 28-29 million, has resulted in pet-care ecosystems with retail chains, e-commerce portals, indigenous grooming and nutrition brands competing with the well-established multinationals, kennels, clubs, and spas.

Digitization has shortened the time to market for startups, and there are numerous success stories -- Supertails, HUFT, Goofytails, Dogspot, Zigly, Fur Ball Story and many more. Breed-specific e-commerce has led to direct-to-home distribution of food and treats. Digital printing in short runs allow brands to experiment with recipes and ingredients. Possibilities to add individual QR codes on packs allows for post-purchase engagement with pet parents, facilitating bidirectional communication. The personalization and short-run capabilities, coupled with vibrant graphics, make digital printing a go-to choice for emerging brands.

Environmentally-Conscious Consumers

There is a growing consciousness among consumers about carbon footprints and sustainability. Research suggests most millennials want to see a regulatory framework in place that holds businesses accountable for the environmental impact from their supply chain and operations. Sustainability is a competitive advantage.

According to a report by Capgemini Research Institute, 79% of consumers are changing their purchase preferences based on social responsibility, inclusiveness or environmental impact. Digital printing, with its emphasis on printing in short runs based on current packaging requirements, stands out as a sustainable printing solution for emerging brands. It also allows the packaging supply chain to be far more responsive to changing trends. Also, digital printing is compatible with new-age materials of renewable origin, and offers a way for printing to be free of hazardous solvents.

The unique strengths of digital printing — faster turnarounds, shorter print runs, personalization and solvent-free production — have enabled emerging brands to personalize, engage and create products geared to the preferences of discerning consumers. More than ever, digitally printed packaging is beckoning consumers on retail shelves in India.

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