To enter a new product on the market, it was necessary to explore the market landscape
and evaluate the prospects of the idea
Cases

Market research of fabric digital printing
in Ukraine

At the moment, there are such main types of printing on fabric: sublimation, silk screen, rotary, digital.
The latter is the most modern method, as it allows, with high quality products, to produce even the smallest print runs (from 1 m). It's like a regular home printer, but the size of a large room. It is suitable
for printing several dozen rolls for a clothing factory, but at the same time it can print a small piece of fabric for an individual product without losing quality.

Task


The client planned to launch in Ukraine the most modern and large-scale (compared to competitors) project on digital roll printing on fabric.

Considerable investments were planned, so they turned to us to understand the size of the market,
the level of competition, and consumer demands. And on the basis of such information, make a decision
on the start of the project.

Market Research

What is the main competitor technology?

Sublimation printing


Why?

— We work in the niche of single (up to 10 m²), small (up to 100 m²) and medium circulation (up to 1000 m²)
— Rotational printing is reserved for industrial circulations over 1000 m²
— Silk screen is an outdated technology, but still used in undeveloped countries. Due to the low cost
of equipment and finished products, with a small color and print area, you can get a good result.

And also for applying specific inks that cannot be used in sublimation and digital printing.

Sublimation vs direct printing


When comparing the finished product of sublimation and digital printing, there is no fundamental difference for the consumer. This is also confirmed by the conclusions after the survey (will be further)

Moving on to market segmentation according to the purpose of finished products

*Here there will be a division of the target audience, according to which further research
is carried out.
The trends in each of these segments were further considered. Here is an example of one
of the trends and its impact on our business idea.
Fast fashion

Clothing collections are not updated 2 times a year, as before, but constantly, every week.

— Large manufacturers (not our audience) are ready to take risks and immediately make print runs. What doesn't sell is thrown away.

— Small manufacturers (our audience) first sew test batches. If the model has become popular, sew more.

— Here comes the problem. I bought a little fabric - then you can not find the same one.
I bought a lot of fabric - the collection may not work. Digital printing solves this issue.

Digitalization

Improving user experience and service through new technologies. If online calculators and chatbots are things that everyone understands, then, for example, 3d modeling, visual search, and AR are just coming into use. And they can start to apply.
Then we looked at the overall indicators for the already existing demand in this market. Several screenshots from this section:

What insights revealed

Searches for "sublimation printing" for 5 year/Searches "direct printing" for 5 years

    Competitor Research

    A list of companies providing similar services in Ukraine was compiled. First, we went through everyone and determined what messages they use in positioning and describing their advantages. This information is used at the stage of positioning development in order to build up from the most common ideas
    and stand out in the market.

    Short summary:

    We looked at each competitor whether they have a specialization in a particular niche or not. As you can see on the screen - no. This can be useful later in positioning. For example, at the start, you can focus on only one segment
      Analyzed digital indicators for each competitor. Websites, traffic dynamics, traffic structure, advertising activities, social networks.

      A few takeaways for the example:
      — The main channels for attracting the audience are direct traffic
      and search engines
      . At the same time, practically no one is engaged in PR and SEO. This suggests that the market is still quite raw and with a quality approach it is possible to intercept the audience, including through these channels.

      — Traffic from the search (except branded) is well increased by those who make site pages
      for individual requests. There are two main types of requests:

      1. Printing on <fabric>. For example, "printing on cotton", "printing on chiffon", etc.
      2. Printing on <item>. For example, "decoration printing", "curtain printing", etc.

      These narrow requests are smaller individually than the general «printing on fabric», but in total they are less competitive and can give a large amount of traffic with better conversion.

      Social networks, when used actively, bring results

      In addition to brand recognition and creating a community of regular customers, social networks are also
      a good trigger to place an order. Many women in surveys said that they first get inspired by social networks and then sew clothes. Based on this, social networks should be filled not only with print examples, but also be an inspiration to do something.

      There are few brand requests, but those who have them give good results. Two dependences of the growth in the number of brand queries have been identified. This is either a long period of the project
      on the market, i.e. they are already known. Or well-promoted social networks, which increases recognition among a new audience.

      Next, we evaluate competitors' sites according to criteria that help us understand how well certain companies convert incoming traffic.

      The possible maximum was 130 points. In Ukraine, no one has a grade above 72.

      This suggests that competition is still at a low level and companies have not reached the optimization
      of resources. But gradually they start doing it.
      During the analysis, we conduct benchmarking and collect interesting insights. We will show a few

      Researching competitor services

      One of the most interesting parts of the research is test purchases. They allow you to understand the level of service of competitors and analyze their prices.

      How was it checked?

      Who are we:

      Ruslana. She sews for herself and her friends. Quality is important, so she wants to get samples in advance. Demanding but respectful. She asks a lot of questions because she immediately wants to know everything, so that later she can simply place orders. She used to buy only ready-made fabrics, but learned about the new technology. If she likes it, she'll recommend it to her friends. Now she wants to order fabrics for decorations in kindergarten.

      What was ordered:
      Satin and Armani silk

      How ordered:
      — Went to the site

      — Wrote an email: Good afternoon! I want to order from you to understand the quality of printing ______. How much is it? How to pay? Or can I get fabric and print samples without ordering?

      — After answering the first message (if everything is clear): Do you have ready-made drawings or do I need to send it to you myself?

      — After answering the second message: upload drawing in the wrong format.

      — Please, if you can improve them. If you need a surcharge, then we finalize it ourselves.

      — We order. But we don't pay. We are waiting for two days to call back asking for an advance payment. If we don't get a call back, we pay.

      — Asking for delivery options

      — We receive the goods, we write that the color is not quite the same as we would like (dim), can it be redone. If it's paid, we don't redo it.

      — Sometimes in conversations we ask about ink, if it is dangerous for children if sewing children's underwear.

      Conclusion for companies from Ukraine

      In the application, the client is given a report on each competitor separately. Here we present some conclusions.

      What are the options to place an order?

      By phone, via e-mail, through the order form and the callback form.

      Completeness of information

      They answered questions selectively, some even ignored messages from the site, that is, the site was derelicted and the forms on the site were not working. When corresponding by mail, I often had to ask the same question a couple of times because it was not answered.

      In the case when they did not respond to a message by mail / form, we had to call, some numbers were not working. Asked to contact another manager / promised to call back (and did not call back). The issue of prices was also often ignored, but some companies dropped their price lists without any problems. Vicoseli had the best and most convenient service.

      After I left the number, they called back on the phone and offered to communicate via viber. It was much more convenient and faster than communication by mail. Moreover, only they answered all the questions asked. When there was no suitable fabric, to the question of what to replace, some advice based on the product, for example, Clover and Digital Textille, the rest simply threw a list of fabrics that were available.

      The fastest way to order turned out to be ordering by phone, some managers asked questions and advised, the rest simply answered questions briefly, but in general, it was faster than ordering by email.

      Response rate and speed

      Vicoseli can be noted in the speed and frequency of responses, the rest responded slowly and infrequently. During the day. Again, the fastest and most convenient way to communicate was through messengers and calls. It was nice that Maximum asked me which of the messengers is convenient for me to communicate, no one else did this.

      Possibility to get fabric and print samples

      In general, free samples of fabric were available from all companies. But there was no free printing on a meter of fabric anywhere.

      Therefore, in Clover, due to the impossibility of printing on a meter, I had to order only a free sample of fabric. Socium Plus excelled, they offered free samples along with an order to print on a meter of fabric.


      Print price m2. Print technology (sublimation\digital)

      Sublimation printing price varies from 4 to 9 dollars per 1m2.
      Digital printing - from 7 to 22 dollars, depending on the volume of printing.

      Help with layout

      Free help in layouts in all companies, except for Vicoseli (they charge 300 UAH for pre-printed preparation of the layout), was patterning, after which they sent a photo of how it would look on the fabric, it was useful. More serious services of the designer were paid, and even they were not remembered at all. Basically, they just suggested what needs to be changed, and also indicated the size of the pattern, which was also useful. None of the companies helped to correct the layout.

      Payment

      Payment is mostly pre-press, but DiJet and Pechatnik print without prepayment, as soon as they are ready. Basically, all companies work with payment by card, except for Vicoseli - they have payment by invoice.

      Example for one competitor

      What are the options to place an order? Call, write via viber / telegram, email.
      Tried to order via email.

      Message response speed

      Email was answered 2 hours later. I had to leave the number in the callback form, they called back
      in 2 minutes, not 30 seconds. as indicated on the website

      Completeness and clarity of response to messages

      They answered only regarding the free sample and shipment by Novaposhta. The next day they didn't answer. It was not possible to order this way. I ordered by phone, the manager politely suggested how best to do it and what fabrics to use.

      Possibility to get fabric and print samples

      The sample is free - 30*30 cm. A free print sample on satin was ordered, since it was impossible to order
      on 1m

      Print price m2. Print technology (sublimation\digital)

      Sublimation or digital printing. In digital printing, orders are accepted with an amount of only above 2500 UAH. The printing cost is less for large orders. Digital printing $7 (100*60 - maximum print format), but only when ordering from 30 units. The cost of sublimation printing varies depending on the quantity of the order, starting from $4 per m² and $6 per rm.

      Help in technical terms (how to upload an image, color reproduction, scaling, etc.)

      They did not provide technical assistance.

      What are the payment options?

      Card payment

      What are the delivery options?


      Pickup, delivery Novaposhta

      Call back in case of non-payment

      Didn't check because I had to order a free sample.

      Delivery time after prepayment

      Quite a long time, since it was the first company where I placed an order. Sent 4 days later.

      What was said about the danger of ink

      They did not answer about the danger of ink

      General view

      It was inconvenient that they did not answer the mail and had to make some other methods of ordering. The manager, in principle, was friendly and attentive, asked why I needed fabric and talked about which fabrics would most likely suit me. They do not print 1 m to check the print, and if ordering a large print run, most likely I would not have ordered here.

      After the order was placed, there was no further support of the client in any company. Which means that sales are weak, because in such a business, orders in most cases are permanent and it is important to work with leads and customers for a long time.

      Consumer Research


      For starters, interviews were conducted with industry experts from different target audience segments.
      As a result of this interview, portraits of the target audience and hypotheses were drawn up, which were confirmed or refuted already during quantitative interviews.

      Below we show an example of one of the portraits of the target audience - a novice designer.

      Description: a young girl who loves to sew clothes but also dreams of making money on it. She doesn't sell very much yet, so the minimum order and price are very important to her.

      Age: 18-35 years old.
      Psychotype: creative, doesn't like technical specifications
      Active users: computers, smartphones, tablets, social networks
      Motivation (why buy): sew clothes, sell and earn
      How they make a choice: they watch social networks, youtube, blogs. They understand what they want and then they begin to look for fabrics that will help to realize it. However, they do not directly copy what they see, but bring their own design.

      What excites me in the first place: the ability to make a different design, the price, the ability to print a small circulation.

      Where to buy fabrics: mainly on the Internet
      Promotion channels: social networks, blog, youtube
      Content: visually beautiful, economic indicators
      Website: modern, with order automation and modern features
      Job stories were also written for each segment. Several examples
      The main fears and concerns were also taken into account. A few examples are given below.
      In the study, each item was described in more detail.

      Market volume by TAM-SAM-SOM method

      up to 70%
      The fabric market in Ukraine is in the shade. Therefore, it was quite difficult to estimate its volume.
      However, let's try to do this using indirect data.

      First, we looked at the export / import data of textile materials

      What data do we have:

      46000 Number of requests "Printing on fabric" Ukraine
      4.5 billion $ The volume of the clothing market in Ukraine
      1 900 Garment manufacturers in Ukraine
      10-20% of textile production in Ukraine is own production
      450-900 million $ Textile production in Ukraine is our own production
      7200 Circulation of the magazine "I love sewing" in Ukraine
      $10 Average price of digital printing
      Volume of the global digital printing market, billion $
      *Statista.com

      TAM (Total Addressable Market)

      At this stage, we estimate the total potential market size. We counted for different segments, but we will show an example of clothing fabrics.

      450-900 million $ Market volume of own clothing production in Ukraine
      60% Cheap clothing price segment
      30% Middle price clothing segment
      10% High price segment of clothing
      2-10$ The price of fabric in a cheap clothing segment.

      Here we cannot compete with cheap industrial fabrics.

      11-30$ Fabric price in middle price clothing segment
      >30$ The price of fabric in the high price segment of clothing
      In the cost of the product, the cost of the fabric takes an average of 75%.
      It follows from this that the fabric market is $337-675 million

      We can say that now this is the volume of the market in which we have to work and our TAM indicator.
      In view of the fact that we satisfy the need for fabric, and not just for printing on fabric.

      SAM (Serviceable Addressable Market)

      We can work in the middle and high clothing production price segment. In the cheap price segment, ateliers simply buy cheap Asian fabrics. Together it is 40% of the market.

      (337-675) * 0,4 = 134 - 270 million $

      This is a very indicative prediction. But it helps to evaluate the possible level of income, compare it with investments and evaluate the possible return on investment

      SOM (Serviceable & Obtainable Market)

      This is the market share that our service can take, taking into account investments in marketing, product quality, service quality, level of competitors, etc. There are 10 main competitors on the Ukrainian market.
      All of them have a mediocre level of equipment, marketing and service. But we will calculate based on
      a realistic forecast that our share will be 10%, i.e. less leadership position.

      (134-270) * 0,1 = 13,4 - 27 million $

      This is a very indicative prediction. But it helps to evaluate the possible level of income, compare it with investments and evaluate the possible return on investment

      What do we get as a result

      Trends

      — Increasing trend in demand for fabric printing by improving its quality and reducing the cost - Increasing speed of work in the clothing market forces us to look for printing methods that can ensure the supply
      of fabrics with a certain print in a short time

      — Changing the model of work in the clothing market in the direction of abandoning large balances in favor of orders just in time, only as needed

      — Increasing number of independent fashion designers who operate with small but frequent orders.

      When ordering in the traditional way, in a fabric store, they have no way of guaranteeing the availability
      of the necessary fabric to ensure production.

      Consumer preferences

      The problem is that sublimation also covers all these needs.
      Consumers do not feel the difference in these technologies.

      Конкуренты

      — Low level of website optimization
      — Little or no promotion costs
      — Low level of social networks development
      — At the same time,everyone have a good level of traffic
      — Almost everyone has a low level of service
      — Good quality fabric and application
      — Different color reproduction and print scale
      — Acceptable prices
      — Production terms (in Ukraine 1-3 days)

      The market is at the stage of formation. There is demand, but competition is at an average level.

      Summary

      The potential printing on fabric for clothing market volume in Ukraine is $13-27 million per year. It should be said that this is the upper limit of the market, taking into account the fact that all fabrics will be printed on demand, and not imported or made in Ukraine. Here, only fabrics of the middle and expensive price segment were taken into account, since it makes no sense to compete with the cheap price segment - there the price of the finished product is at the level of the printing selling price.

      Slight differences in the characteristics of the finished product when using sublimation and digital printing technologies make it impossible to compete using the qualities of the finished product. In addition, even those market participants who have already ordered fabric printing do not know what types of printing are available and what their differences are. The cost of sublimation, which is at a level no higher than digital, does not allow you to compete with the help of price. So can we enter this market?

      The state of the market and the level of people's awareness of the technology suggests that we are now at the beginning of the innovation curve.

      This means that at this stage, only consumers from the "innovators" category are starting to use textile printing and digital printing as well (except for advertising agencies and marketers - they have been using it for a long time).

      The low level of marketing, optimization of processes and service from competitors confirms that the market is at the initial stage of development and only the availability of equipment already allows you to "bite off a piece of the pie".

      Due to such important indicators as color reproduction, understandability of the layout scheme, the risks associated with the timing and quality of printing, the choice of a permanent solution provider is of great importance in this market.

      That is, the consumer is more likely to stay with the company that provided him with a positive buying experience. Instead of looking for a new supplier every time to save money or find something new. All these prerequisites lead to the fact that at this stage it is possible to occupy a niche in the market with the help of the service exit model. In it, good marketing, service and the overall experience of the client's interaction with the service come first as a competitive advantage.

      Since the market is at the initial stage of formation, it is more important to focus on attracting those who are just starting to get acquainted with this service. Do not waste your energy on poaching clients from competitors.

      At the same time, it is important to use the pains of the audience in order to convert them into customers (for example, free samples for the atelier).

      And to use the same pains to exclude leaving to others. Because in this case, they will have to take risks, waste time and money. Few people want to do this if we have a good level of service, even if the price is a little higher.

      Do you want to collaborate or have questions?

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