Europeans have always been ahead of trends compared to North Americans. They have a lot of influence and greatly inspire creators here. Whether it is inventions, new fashion trends or good environmental practices, the citizens of the old continent are very often at the forefront, it seems. It is even said that they are sometimes ten years ahead in many areas.
There is also a major difference between Europe and North America when it comes to the fabric printing market: customer volume. Just to compare some figures, when we look at the number of inhabitants who are included in the European Union, as of January 1, 2022, we see that it has 446.8 million inhabitants, compared to Canada which has just under 39 million inhabitants. This means that the European market is more than ten times larger than the Canadian market. The United States will not be included in this market because there is little interaction between Canada and the United States in the textile printing industry.
So with an industry ten times larger, Europeans have a huge customer base, where fabric display accounts for over 75% of all display products. The fabric is advantageous for several reasons, and Europeans know it. Not only is sublimation printed fabric more environmentally friendly than products like vinyl banners or rigid products printed with UV inks, but it offers a classier, more distinguished look. In addition, it makes it possible to reproduce images with very high definition, which makes it possible to manufacture huge canvases, which will then be stretched in giant frames installed on the wall or even on freestanding structures. Aluminum frames are very popular for indoor signage in Europe. Here too, in Canada, the craze for this type of display has skyrocketed over the past ten years. M&M Graphic has increased its sales in this area significantly.
In terms of sublimation presses, the format of the largest presses in Canada is 126” (3.2 meters) wide. So it’s a little over 10 feet. With the space reserved for the roll grip and the safety margins for printing, the roll that feeds the press is 120” wide. In several European countries, some large sublimation printers have 5 meter presses! That equates to over 15 feet. We are therefore talking about impressive dimensions for printing. But why can’t we find presses of this size here in Canada? Simply because the market for this format is non-existent here. The costs to run a machine of this size, the costs of the rolls of fabric at this width, not to mention the transport costs, limit the size to 10 feet in North America.
But that may change in the next few years. The market continues to grow and expert forecasts suggest it will continue. Who knows, maybe one day we will be able to order a 15 feet by 15 feet seamless canvas from M&M Graphic!