Digital Magazine

Third drupa Global Trends Report Is Here

CHICAGO, IL | Messe Düsseldorf, organizer of drupa 2016, reports the results of the 3rd drupa Global Trends report have been published. The trade fair for print and cross-media solutions, takes place May 31–June 10 at the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The report finds that although recovery from the financial crisis in 2008 is incomplete and uneven, printers everywhere are increasingly optimistic about their prospects throughout 2016, despite tightening margins and falling prices. This is influencing their plans for investment in production equipment. 

The three reports are based on surveys of a global panel of approximately 750 printers about the state of the printing industry and expectations about its future over the three years leading up to drupa 2016.

Sabine Geldermann, director of drupa, says, “This year’s drupa is a showcase for the latest developments in the global printing industry. By commissioning the series of drupa Global Trends reports, we are able to put these new developments into context with the state of the industry as a whole. Anyone visiting drupa this year will find the reports provide invaluable background information.”

The research and writing of the reports were handled by Richard Gray and Neil Falconer of the specialist consultancy and market research company Print Future. “The previous report in 2015 was upbeat in general, globally,” says Gray. “In 2016 the picture is patchier, with some regions thriving, such as North America, and others struggling, including some of the developing regions. Similarly, while packaging and functional markets are in general doing well, those in the commercial market are more challenged and those in the publishing market particularly so.”

In each report the responses of printers have been gathered and averaged to create a barometer of economic confidence. Some 37% of the global panel of printers described their current condition in 2015 as good, although a significant 12% said their condition was poor, giving a positive net balance of 25%. Looking ahead, printers were in general more positive, with 50% expecting their economic condition to improve in 2016 compared with just 6% expecting it to deteriorate—a positive balance of 44%.

According to region, all printers are more optimistic for 2016 than 2015, but the biggest increases in positive ratings are in Africa, Australia/Oceania, Middle East, and Asia. According to sector, all the 2016 forecasts are more optimistic, with commercial and functional printing showing the greatest increase compared to 2015.

Looking at some 14 common print processes, the report found that digital technologies are growing fastest (on average by 28% annually), but that sheet-fed offset lithography is also seeing significant growth, particularly in publishing (net positive growth of 7%) and packaging (+12%). Flexography is also doing very well in packaging (+18%), and gravure is seeing a modest but definite growth (+3%) in this sector. Functional printing is a growth area for screen printing (+11%), although digital is very important as well.

While the majority of turnover still comes from conventional print, there is a steady increase in the volume and value of digital print, with the exception being packaging where only 13% reported that it represents more than 25% of turnover, compared to 35% for commercial, 24% for publishing, and 59% for functional. The ability of digital to print variable content is important, with 59% of functional printers and 35% of commercial printers reporting that more than 25% of their digital turnover was variable. Web to print seems to have stalled, with only a percentage point of growth from 2014 (25% of printers had it) to 2015 (26%). Only North America as a region and functional print as a sector saw significant increases in volumes going through web to print.

Both printers and suppliers cited strong competition as the biggest constraint to growth, with lack of sales being almost as large a factor. As a reason they reported finding new customers as the largest factor (58%) and finding good sales staff at second place (35%). About 32% blamed lack of demand for conventional print, but only 10% said the same for digital.

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