Since unit costs don’t significantly decrease with higher quantities, digital printing is most often used for short runs. Digital printing can also be used at higher volumes, you just don’t get the same economies of scale as other processes, such as flexography or lithography.
The benefit of plateless printing is that you have the option of variable prints, no-cost artwork changes, and full color or photorealistic printing.
Digital printing is plateless, so there is no printing setup cost
Print full color (CMYK) without added cost.
Variable print (e.g. unique barcodes, personalization)
No new tooling required for artwork changes (e.g. seasonal designs)
Lower quantities than available with other print processes, as low as 1.
Full color, photorealistic prints
No significant price break savings with higher quantities.
Cannot be perfectly color-matched to Pantone colors
Dots can be visible in prints and the quality is typically not as good as lithography or rotogravure. Full color and photorealistic prints are possible, but quality varies greatly depending on the machine and substrate.