Thermal paper is used in a wide range of applications including the retail,entertainment, medical and transport sectors. The two largest end uses of thermal paper are point of sale (POS) and labels.
Although widespread in their use, as with many printed paper products, technology developments have enabled alternative systems and processes to develop that are and will continue to impact thermal paper demand.
For example, currently there is much optimistic data and media about e-receipts replacing paper receipts as smart phones, tablets and contactless bank cards are increasingly used for retail transactions. In recent times myriad examples of new retailing technology likely to impact receipt formats are appearing and it is too early to predict exactly what will predominate and precisely how it will evolve. The e-receipt market is in its infancy and paper receipts are likely to be a mainstream feature of consumer retailing for the future.
THE FUTURE OF PAPER RECEIPTS FALLS INTO THREE CATEGORIES:
Legal Requirements – Until all retailers and all consumers are able to deliver e-receipts, there will be some need for paper receipts
Perceived Legal Requirements – Regardless of statute law, there is widespread belief that a paper receipt as opposed to a receipt (or in fact no receipt) is a universal consumer right. Retailers will not want to create widespread customer discontent by removing paper receipts too quickly. The overriding issue is ‘customer satisfaction’ meaning the merchant will provide a receipt if requested.
Business Operational and Trading Requirements – The traditional Point of Sale (POS) terminal will undoubtedly become the Point of Interaction (POI) and this will introduce new hardware into the hands of either the customer, the merchant, or both and potentially changes the emphasis and the way in which a sale transaction is completed. However each retail category and to a lesser degree location, has different requirements and certain payment transactions and customers will continue to require a paper receipt as proof of contract. Many merchants will want to provide a receipt partly for the same reason.
Future thermal paper use in a range of application sectors will be influenced by a range of factors. These include:
- The green effect – including accreditation; use of bisphenol A; lower basis weights
- Technological developments – including the impact of digital and mobile communication, e receipts, smart phones
- Market effects – including regional differences, economic issues, developed vs developing countries, trade issues
- Changing end user needs and requirements – including ‘etailing’, ‘value’ of paper receipt vs e receipt
- Competitive landscape – including new entrants, trade ‘wars’
The nature and magnitude of these factors on future thermal paper demand will form the focus of research in this study and provide a view on the future for thermal paper through to 2018.
- The project evaluated the impact of a range of factors on future attitudes to and the use of thermal paper based products.
The evaluation assesses:
- How are these factors affecting overall consumption and demand of the thermal paper products?
- When will their effect start having more impact on paper suppliers and others involved in the paper supply chain?
SCOPE OF WORK
In addition to the overarching economic considerations brought about by the global financial situation, a number of behavioural and technological trends and issues will have a significant impact on the demand for thermal paper based products.
Key trends that are explored in the context of the study are:
- Impact of ‘green’ related issues
- Growth of ‘tablet’ computers and mobile phones and their impact on retailing
- Requirement for thermal paper in developing economies
- Evolution of end use markets/end users in relation to their need future need for thermal paper