Optimism exists in world of print
22 Aug 2022 11:17

The eighth Drupa global trends report discovers some expected trends but also some unexpected insights.

Printers are still planning to invest in litho presses according to the eighth Drupa global trends report that is due to be published next month. Despite developments in digital print technology to cut costs, increase productivity and automate, more printers taking part in the research report plans to buy litho than digital. 

In the publishing sector 27% plan to buy litho with the same percentage planning a digital print investment. But overall 30% of those survey plan to invest in a sheetfed litho press compared to 18% planing an investment in a cut sheet toner press.

Unsurprisingly the industry across the world has suffered from the lockdown period, but this has not dented optimism, especially in Asia which is more gung ho than Europe. Commercial print suffered worse than packaging print.

The biggest shift has been in expectations of online printing. Two years ago when the last survey was published, 17% of revenues derived from orders placed via web portals. In 2022 that has grown to 26%. More companies are receiving more than 25% of their turnover from online activities than before lockdown. It affects all markets according to the report. 

The flood of short orders will have an impact on automation, particularly in finishing where the strain of short runs and challenges of recruitment are already making investment in finishing technology the second most popular investment planned by printers.

There is a very clear increase in confidence well ahead of 2019, says Richard Gray, operations director of PrintFuture, which produced the report for Drupa. More printers consider their condition to be good, than those considering themselves in a poor position. Those in eastern Europe fall in this category.

A second shift for the industry around the world is attention to macro socioeconomic pressures rather than simply focusing on their own customers. The pandemic for example is the biggest threat that hangs over printers in Asia according to 62% of those responding and 51% in Europe. But war is a major issue for 32% of Europe’s printers, but only for 6% of printers in Central and South America.

Many printers have successfully raised prices and the costs of the raw materials they are buying increases. This is the first time since the Drupa Report began in 2013 that printers have been able to react in this way.

Prepared on the basis of information from Print Business