By Melissa Donovan
Published in February 2020, the Automotive Wrap Films Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Application (Heavy Duty Vehicles, Medium Duty Vehicles, Light Duty Vehicles), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2020 – 2027 from Grand View Research, Inc., predicts that the global automotive wrap films market is expected to reach $17.6 billion USD by 2027, projecting to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 22.5 percent over the forecast period.
According to the research firm, high application scope in addition to increasing demand from light duty vehicles positively impacts growth. The market has witnessed major advancements, both in terms of technology and material, to facilitate low cost and mass production of automotive wrap films. This leads to flexibility in design and ease of manufacturing for a range of applications involving all types of vehicles.
Color change films are one of these technological advancements. A cost-effective and efficient alternative to paint, consumers, brand owners, and a host of other buyers request color change films to enhance their vehicles appearance—either in a partial or full wrap.
Above: PG Nola, of New Orleans, LA created graphics on ORAFOL’s Special Effect ORACAL 970RA Crystal White Color Change Film, laminated with ORAGUARD 293G 1-mil gloss overlaminate.
Be Aware, Be Prepared
Print service providers (PSPs) well versed in traditional vehicle wraps can adapt techniques and leverage knowledge by adding color change wrap films to their service offerings. “Wrap shops are getting more creative and expanding to provide more custom restyled looks to commercial fleets. Pairing spot graphic logos and text over shade-shifting, color change films, or laying a gloss or matte finish metallic base wrap film with spot logos over the top are growing exponentially,” explains Josh Culverhouse, graphic innovations market manager, ORAFOL Americas, Inc.
There is a growing interest in wrapping vehicles in color change films, however PSPs may need to adapt their print processes, wrap techniques, and business in general to properly and effectively address demand.
Joey Heiob, technical service representative, Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions, reveals that the skill set and techniques involved with color change wraps differ from those traditional commercial print wrap shops are familiar with. “They require the installers to wrap deeper on vehicles. This means they need to be able to remove parts off of the vehicle, which is a different skill as well. Cutting has to be very accurate because it is impossible to hide errors on a color change wrap in comparison to a full print install.”
Physically, a traditional vehicle wrapping print shop already has the space and staff in place to handle color change film services. “Most wrap installers already have a certified installer on staff and a drive-in bay to install the vehicle wrap or color change film in a climate-controlled area,” admits Austin Eck, product manager, FDC Graphic Films, Inc.
Other considerations involve timing. Heiob notes that a traditional full print commercial wrap can be accomplished in a day, whereas a color change may take three to five days to complete.
Also the type of vehicle wrapped may not be something a traditional PSP is familiar with. “This market is traditionally geared towards high-end luxury vehicles. This means the shop needs to have good insurance as a result of having these expensive vehicles in shop,” explains Heiob.
Similarly, the type of customer requesting a color change wrap may be a bit different. They will have little background knowledge on the care and handling of a wrap. “Before offering color change films, it is important to know how to manage customers’ expectations. The film’s lifespan will be impacted by how the owner cares for the car. Pressure washing, exposure to UV light, and contaminates can all reduce the lifespan on the film,” cautions Eck.
Media manufacturers are inspired to release yearly and even seasonal updates to their color change film lines. This involves the additions of new colors, textures, and finishes.
“Manufacturers continue to introduce new colors and finishes designed to grab attention. Right now color shifting films are trendy along with pearlescent films. Metallic films have been popular for a long time and textures like carbon fiber are used frequently for accents on side view mirrors or for striping,” explains Eck.
When it comes to textures and finishes, Heiob says that matte wraps hold extreme interest, however he’s seen a rise in satin finished films since they are easy to clean and maintain. Other popular finishes include Avery Dennison’s ColorFlow Supreme Wrapping Film, which provides a shade shift effect based on the lighting and angle of observation and the company’s new Rugged Series of textured films.
ORAFOL works hard to balance color requests in its portfolio that service both commercial wrap and custom restyling markets. As such, Culverhouse admits that some of its commercial wrap color solutions are utilized in the restyle market and vice versa. The company recently released highly requested commercial gloss colors in a matte finish to address both channels.
With more people working from home due to COVID-19—reducing the amount of traffic on the road—it will be interesting to see whether color change films are requested as frequently as once projected. That being said, the films aren’t only designed to be adhered to vehicles, they are utilized to wrap countless objects.
Eck notes the endless number of applications that can use color change film from toolboxes and doors to desks, laptops, phone cases, and video game consoles.
“We don’t see a big use of our color change films outside of traditional vehicle usage. Sure, you can use this material to wrap just about anything from appliances to electronics but the main volume of film is used in the automotive market,” says Heiob.
Welcome the New
Color change wrap films are popular for consumers—traditional restyle market—but PSPs can get in on the action by offering the service. Further, they can convert existing work or combine traditional wrap graphics with color change film options.
Dec2020, Digital Output