Security ink can be classified into tamper detection inks and instant verification inks depending on whether they are meant to protect or authenticate documents. Security inks such as magnetic ink, invisible ink, optically variable ink, secondary fluorescing ink fall, thermo-chromic ink, biometric ink, reactive ink, and water based ink within these categories.
Security inks are used for a variety of government documents such as stamp papers, passports, certificates, identity cards, etc; they are also used in printing of currency notes. In the corporate sector, security inks are used while printing bank checks, labels and sensitive company documents.
The security ink market is a fragmented market due to a plethora of players spread across the world’s different geographical regions. One reason for this is government regulations in certain countries on imports of security inks by private firms since they are a sensitive technology that can be used for forgery or other malpractices.
Concerns over duplication of security inks has been a top concern for manufacturers and most R&D has been aimed at producing inks that cannot be replicated. Current research trends have been focussed on developing security ink that is visible under florescent microplate readers but invisible in ultraviolet and ambient light.
Some of the key players in the security ink market include Microtrace, SICPA, Sun Chemical, CTI, Gleitsmann Security Inks, Letong Ink, Cronite, Kao Collins, Chromatic Technologies, Eastman Kodak, Ink Tec, Gans, Villager Security Solutions, Pingwei, Shojudo, Luminescence, HOLDING, Wancheng, Hologramas de Mexico, ANY, Jinpin, Mingbo, and Godo.
Some of the top manufacturers have also focussed on specific segments based on printing techniques, namely intaglio, offset, letterpress, numbering, silk screen and flexographic printing methods. However, most continue to operate across all these segments.
Certain manufacturers also produce invisible ink for individual consumers; Neomark’s Invisible UV ink and The Can King’s All Purpose Blue Invisible UV Ink are two such examples. However, the market segment for individual consumers is dominated by pens that are filled with security ink and manufacturers and vendors mainly focus on bulk supplies to invisible ink pen producers.
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Drivers of the Security Ink Market
The increased need for securing documents, checks, currency notes and other sensitive materials against counterfeiting has been a dominant driver for the security ink market. The overall increase in commercial activity has meanwhile driven the market in the commercial sector. In recent years, security ink has also been used by the commercial sector for gift vouchers and lottery and elite-event tickets.
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Impact of Covid-19
While Covid-19 may have an impact on global commercial activity, it will not offset the need for security of documents. In fact, the rise of illegal activities in the aftermath of the pandemic may lead to greater spending on security ink and affiliated technologies. As a result, the security ink market will continue following a strong growth curve.
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The North American market has been the largest regional segment for the security ink market riding on the back of its USD 16 Trillion economy. This has been caused by the myriad security regulations enforced by the government on official documents, as well as the presence of several large multinational corporations.
The European market has been the other large segment. Here, the commercial segment does not see as many multinationals, but on the flip-side smaller commercial consumers have placed a greater emphasis on security.
The East Asian regional segment has seen the fastest growth in recent years, mainly led by China’s rapidly growing commercial sector, even as demand from developed countries like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan has remained high.
The South Asian segment has been the second fastest growing regional segment. Its growth rate is likely to overtake the East Asian segment as India, Bangladesh and Southeast Asian states’ economic growth rate is faster than China’s. However, the combined economy of the region still dwarfs North America, East Asia and Europe.
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Regional analysis includes
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