The Thermal Paper Market in 10 Years: 3 Predictions

panda paper 1

The following are three predictions for the thermal paper market for the next ten years, based on my seven years of experience as the CEO of Panda Paper Roll Company, which is the largest paper roll manufacturer and supplier in China.

1. The thermal paper market will shrink  

 The concept of paperless, electronic receipts – “e-receipts” – becomes more feasible as increasingly massive amounts of retail merchandising and business transactions take place online, as well as the growing use of electronic handheld devices and bank cards for everyday purchases in brick-and-mortar establishments. It is inevitable that e-receipts will gradually take the place of thermal paper receipts as the standard document for verifying all kinds of transactions.

For the time being, however, the overwhelming majority of people on both sides of the checkout counter prefer paper receipts. There is simply no substitute for something concrete that you can hold in your hand. Even the e-receipts currently in use invariably have a “print this receipt” button somewhere. A paper receipt can be signed, copied, put in a file, taken to court, used for refunds, or any other function where unequivocal proof of contract is desired.

Widespread conversion to e-receipts is clearly inevitable, but it will happen slowly, not overnight. Not only do e-receipts have to meet these legal and logistical challenges, but they must be made universally acceptable and technically available. For this reason, regardless of any glowing predictions, e-receipts are still in the fetal stage in their evolution as a business instrument.

2. Printed paper market share will increasepanda paper 2

With the advent of near-universal internet access and portable electronic devices, advertising has become ubiquitous. An increasingly popular venue for reaching customers with advertising messages is by printing on a thermal paper receipt.

It is also extremely cost-effective. A single, one-time magazine or television ad can run tens of thousands of dollars, whereas the ad printed on the back of a receipt costs only a few dollars more than a plain unprinted batch, and reaches every single customer of the business, often repeatedly.

Printed receipt ads also accommodate a high degree of customization, allowing the use of company logos, forms,attractive font designs, or virtually anything that can be generated as a graphic image.

Custom printed thermal paper receipts can have an impressive range of purposes: sale announcements, promotions (30% off of your next purchase!), coupons, contests, warranty documentation, rebates, forms, and so on.

3. The global market will be dominated by a few big companies

The global thermal paper business is fiercely competitive. Profit margins are dangerously tight. Individual paper rolls may sell for only a few cents apiece; business survival thus depends on consistently selling them in huge quantities, preferably to repeat customers. Wholesalers and manufacturers of thermal paper products who can not do this will gradually wither and die.

In the thermal paper industry, being able to buy materials and move product in large quantities is a basic, fundamental requirement for survival. Thermal paper companies must be able to take advantage of volume discounts that will allow their products to be competitively priced. At the same time, they must be cautious not to over- or under-stock their inventory, as either mistake can wipe out an already fragile cash flow position. It is a given that only large, muscular companies that can absorb these risks will enjoy long term survival in the thermal paper industry. My prediction is that in 10 years, there will be less than 15 major thermal paper suppliers in the world.

As a result of the fierce competiton, the paper roll price will be lower and lower. Take an example, for the popular 80mm x 80mm thermal roll size, the unit price was around $0.60/roll in 2010, while now it is $0.50/roll in 2015. That is about a 20% price decrease.


About Panda Paper Roll:

Panda Paper Roll is the largest paper rolls manufacturer and supplier in China. Our products covers from thermal paper roll, POS paper, till rolls, ATM paper to custom printed receipts, labels and other POS consumable. All our products are made in China and shipped to worldwide markets, such as USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, UAE,etc. Our advantage is that we are selling at the lowest possible price among so many suppliers in the world.

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