Global Trends

drupa Global Trends report

4th drupa Global Trends report

General confidence amongst printers and suppliers for 2017 but mixed fortunes for markets and regions alike / Strong plans for capital investment with Finishing the No.1 priority and Sheetfed offset leading press investment plans.
Following the successful drupa in Spring 2016, this 4th annual Global Trends report gives the detailed evidence to support the thesis that globally Print is recovering well from the double challenge of the 2007/8 economic crisis and the strategic shift towards digital communications.

Sabine Geldermann, Director drupa, Messe Duesseldorf, said, “Last year’s drupa showcased a global print industry that has regained its confidence in the future, with lots of fresh technology and applications demonstrated to enthuse both printers and their customers alike. This report shows that whilst levels of confidence vary between regions and markets, overall the print industry is on the up and will invest strongly to secure a prosperous future.”

Recruited from senior managers who visited drupa last year, almost 850 printers and over 300 suppliers representing all regions and markets participated in the survey run by Printfuture, the specialist print consultancy and market research company. “All printers, whatever market or region they are based in, know that if they are to succeed in the long term, they must continue to adapt to the ever changing market and economic conditions. This needs a ruthless approach to efficiency and automation while at the same time learning new skills and adding new added value services. Nevertheless it is pleasing to report that overall, print has got its ‘mojo’ back.”

General confidence amongst printers and suppliers for 2017

Globally 42% of printers described their business as in a ‘good’ economic condition in 2016, with just 11% reporting it as ‘poor’, a net balance of +31%, the highest recorded global result of the report series. Prospects for 2017 are better with a net balance of +46%.

However market variances and regional variances are growing. Packaging at +39% net balance and Functional (Industrial/Decorative) at +34% are strongest while Commercial at +26% and Publishing at 23% follow behind. North America once again is the strongest region with a net balance of +49%, followed by Europe and Australia/Oceania at +33%, Central/South America at +29%, Asia at +20%, the Middle East at 19% and Africa at -3%, the first negative net balance of the report series. Indeed on many measures, the Middle East reported a very poor condition, while Africa and Central/South America reported fragile conditions.

Looking at the underlying financial performance figures, printers reported a well-established pattern of falling prices and squeezed margins, compensated for by increasing revenues assisted by higher utilisation. In terms of conventional print, the well-established trends continued of falling run lengths and lead times and an increasing number of jobs to be handled.

Notable pause reported in the growth of digital print and a clear fall in the number of Web to print installations

What was different this year was a possible pause in the historic rise in the proportion of turnover that is digital print (28% of printers in 2015 reported that more than 25% of their turnover was digital while the figure for 2016 was 27%). Nevertheless digital print has an ever-increasing hold on Functional print with inkjet the dominant technology for most applications, up from 61% in 2014 to 74% in 2016. Similarly digital continues to grow rapidly in Commercial print e.g. wide format print installations up from 37% in 2013 to 50% in 2016. The much talked of growth of digitally printed packaging is starting, with 34% of packaging printers offering digital print, up from 24% in 2014, although demand is patchy as yet.

Even more striking was the clear fall in the number of Web to print installations globally down from 26% in 2015 to 23% in 2016. This decline was not universal eg in Asia it rose, but in some regions eg North America and Australia/Oceania, the fall was decisive.

Turning to capital investment plans, 42% spent more over the last 12 months and just 11% spent less, a net balance of +31%, and there was a net balance of +41% in respect of plans for 2017. This positive story was true for most regions, the exception being the Middle East where there was a new low for the report series of just +5% in 2016. For the first time the No. 1 priority globally was Finishing, followed closely by new Presses. That in turn was closely followed by PrePress/Workflow/MIS; a sign that automation is being taken seriously.

As for press investment plans, Sheetfed litho led the global race followed by Digital toner cutsheet colour. But what was another first for the report series, each of the four markets had a different No. 1 press investment priority – Commercial, Digital toner cutsheet colour; Publishing, Sheetfed offset; Packaging, Flexo and Functional, Digital inkjet rollfed colour.

3rd drupa Global Trends report

Optimism for growth in 2016 | Africa and Middle East especially optimistic | Digital growing but conventional processes still dominate | Web to print stalls
With just weeks to go before drupa 2016 opens, the results of the 3rd drupa Global Trends report have been published. 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 have drawn on a global panel of about 750 printers to survey the state of the printing industry and expectations about its future over the three years leading up to drupa 2016.
Sabine Geldermann, Director drupa, Messe Düsseldorf, said: “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 the context of the state of the industry as a whole. Anyone visiting drupa this year will find the reports make an invaluable backgrounder.”

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 Richard Gray. “In 2016 the picture is patchier, with some regions thriving, such as North America, others are struggling, including some of the developing regions. Similarly whilst packaging and functional markets are in general doing well, those in the commercial market are more chal-lenged and those in the publishing market particularly so."

In each report the responses of printers have been gathered and averaged to produce 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%.

Taken by region, everywhere is more optimistic for 2016 than 2015, but the biggest increases in positive feelings are in Africa, Australia/Oceania, Middle East and Asia. Taken by sector, all the 2016 forecasts are more optimistic on balance, with commercial and functional (sometimes called industrial) printing showing the greatest increase compared to 2015.

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

While the bulk of turnover still comes from conventional print, there is a steady increase in the volume and value of digital print, with the exception of 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 Ffunctional print as a sector saw significant increases in volumes going through web to print.

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

2nd drupa Global Trends report

International printing sector looks to the future with surprising optimism.
Initial results from the second "drupa Global Trends" report are showing sustained recovery from the recession with some surprising insights and positive feedback. The full report designed to highlight economic and operational trends in the worldwide print sector is available at the end of March. The results are all the more interesting as the survey itself, conducted in October 2014, was largely identical to the first "drupa Global Trends" report from February 2014. In addition this year a full survey was conducted amongst industry suppliers for the first time, ensuring a balanced picture of the global print market. Developments and important key data from the worldwide print sector – such as financial conditions, business climate, investment plans and technologies used are given in detail and trends revealed.

Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, Chairman of the Messe Düsseldorf Management Board summarises the key results of the study. "The generally upbeat picture reported by the expert panel surprised us,” says Dornscheidt. “Both the print service providers and the international supplier industry gave a positive evaluation of the economic situation of their own companies as at October 2014. Even more surprising, however, was that the print and supplier industry is heading into 2015 with a very positive outlook.”

The question ‘How do you see the outlook for the coming twelve months?’ was answered by 48 percent of service providers surveyed with expectations of an improvement in their companies’ economic situation, and only seven percent with a decline. The results from the worldwide supplier industry were similarly positive: 51 percent forecast an improvement, and only eight percent a decline.

On the other hand, the results from individual performance measures surveyed show a much more mixed picture:
1. Sales for print service providers continue to rise – but are less pronounced. 39 percent of print service providers report an increase, whereas 22 percent show a drop in sales. This positive balance of 17 percent is well below the positive net balance of 27 percent from the first survey.
2. The margins for print service providers continue to fall. Almost half (43 percent) of the print service providers surveyed report falling margins, while just 16 percent succeeded in increasing margins. Positive exceptions here are the markets of North America and the Middle East, where 29 and 28 percent reported increased margins.
3. Digital print is growing fast but is still a small percentage of turnover for most printers. As quickly as the share of digital printing in the overall print technology mix continues to rise, most turnover continues to be generated from traditional print. Only ten percent of the print service providers surveyed achieved more than 25 percent of their 2014 sales in digital printing (2013: 8 percent).
4. Print service providers are not turning to services outside the print sector. Often recommended as a new business area – but not yet realised in practice: Just 27 percent of the print providers surveyed achieved more than ten percent of their sales with services outside the print sector (e.g. asset management for customers, updating databases, etc.).

Drawing an initial conclusion from the second "drupa Global Trends" report, those surveyed feel pretty positive – even if some measures are still showing negative trends. This general optimism is supported by the investment plans cited both by print service providers and supplier firms. After all, only a forward-looking development strategy ensures a competitive edge and thus the future of the company.
More than 1100 international decision-makers from the print industry and their suppliers responded to the comprehensive survey in October 2014. The independent market research company Wissler & Partner (Switzerland) and Printfuture (UK) have – as with the first "drupa Global Trends" report and the first "drupa Global Insights" report – expertly evaluated and prepared the results.

1st drupa Global Trends report


drupa will publish two report series entitled “drupa Global Trends” and “drupa Global Insights,” that will study for the first time the trends and major changes in the international print and media sector at both global and regional levels. The results will be based on answers provided by a representative panel consisting of leading executives from printers, suppliers and print purchasers from around the world, recruited primarily from the drupa 2012 visitor and exhibitor database. Messe Düsseldorf, in its role as drupa organiser, has appointed two independent consulting and market research companies Printfuture (UK) and Wissler & Partner (Switzerland) to conduct these two report series. The first “drupa Global Trends” report is now published.

Despite reporting significant regional variations, the “drupa Global Trends” report does reveal a number of critical – and sometimes surprising – trends that are shared by all economic regions and across print segments (Publishing Packaging and Commercial). As was to be expected, the report confirmed that the global printing industry’s structural transformation is still ongoing, with increasing costs coupled with declining prices and shrinking margins. However, three other major findings of the study are more pivotal:

  1. There are clear signs that economic conditions are improving. As a consequence the printing industry globally is planning increased investment over the next twelve months. Efficiency gains and the development of new services are driving investment in the industrialised countries. North America is leading the way by gearing up for major transformation with high levels of investment in printing technology, IT and new services. In the emerging countries growing demand is the main driver.
  2. The printing industry is in the midst of a transition from a product-driven industry to a service-driven one. The demand for new solutions and business models that better reflect the customer needs is clear.
  3. As expected, digital printing plays an increasing role in the technology mix deployed. Among print services providers, 65% produce using both conventional and digital methods and one-third of commercial printers already gain a quarter or more of their turnover from digital printing. But conventional printing (especially sheet-fed offset) continues to be an important pillar for the print sector. Planned investment reflects this point as 29% of all printers say they intend to invest in sheet-fed offset printing.

“Thanks to these two report series, drupa is able to offer first-rate, representative market data and information that will enable the market players – be they providers of print services, suppliers or print purchasers – to make better strategic decisions. In addition the reports will allow variations between the world’s major economic regions to be analysed. Finally the insights gained will serve to further improve drupa’s positioning,” says Werner M. Dornscheidt, the President and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf.

This first drupa “Global Trends” report provides an initial assessment of the state of the global print industry In order to monitor the trends going forward, the survey will be repeated in the fourth quarter each year. In parallel drupa will publish a series of “Global Insight” reports that will offer detailed analysis into specific industry-relevant topics. An “Insights” report on “The Impact of the Internet on Print” will kick off the series in June of 2014. The objective will be to show the effects of the Internet on e-commerce, digital marketing, mass customisation and IT on the world of print and illustrate how future strategies and business models need to adapt.

drupa Global Insights report

2nd drupa Global Insights report

Touch the future - Applications that can create growth
Welcome to the Executive Summary of the 2nd ‘drupa Global Insights’ report ‘Touch the future – Applications that can create growth’. It is the second of a series of reports that study strategic shifts in the international print and media sector at both global and regional level and follows the publication in October 2014 of ‘The Impact of the Internet on Print – The Digital Flood’.

Published in parallel are the ‘drupa Global Trends’ reports, annual publications that track key economic and market developments in the global print industry over the period leading to drupa 2016 and beyond – the last of which was published in February 2014.

Messe Düsseldorf, in its role as drupa organizer, appointed two independent consulting and market research companies - Printfuture (UK) and Wissler & Partner (Switzerland) to conduct these two report series.

In spring 2015 we asked the printing company members of our drupa expert panel to participate in a survey on the implementation of fresh print applications. A total of 741 senior decision makers answered the extensive questionnaire with a good cross -section across markets and regions. Of particular interest were the 170 participants who took the trouble to offer personal experience of implementing applications in their own companies. Our grateful thanks go to the respondents for taking the time to participate in this survey.

Our objective in this report is to identify how digital technology is both changing the demand for print but also allowing fresh print applications to create growth opportunities. However with the help of the drupa expert panel we demonstrate that a good print application will only fulfill its potential for turnover growth and profitability if it is well planned, integrated and marketed.

1st drupa Global Insights report

Global study “The Impact of the Internet on Print – The digital flood”
The first results of the “drupa Global Insights” report on “The Impact of the Internet on Print – The digital flood” are now out. They illustrate how many Internet-enabled tools such as web-to-print, variable data printing, interactive print such as Augmented Reality and QR codes and smart technologies such as printed electronics, will impact on most areas of the printing industry. Print service providers and the supplier industry on the one hand and their customers on the other are being compelled to deal with new challenges and opportunities. Werner M. Dornscheidt, President and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, underlines the relevance of the drupa study: “With its detailed analysis of the global markets and the overview of current trends, the “drupa Global Insights“ report is an important contribution to strategic decisions that need to be taken by printers and suppliers alike “. In spring 2014, about 1,100 international key executives from the printing industry took part in the on-line survey and many participants provided very informative examples from their business environment.

The rise and rise of ecommerce
Ecommerce is growing in most global regions at rapid rates and printers are having to play catch-up, for whilst 51% of the survey panel had Web-to-Print services, only 14% reported it transacted more than 25% of their orders. Nevertheless in the catalogue market, publishers understand that print catalogues drive on-line sales and a majority of 60% of catalogue printers reported growth in on-demand digital production.

The shift to mass customisation
Whether it is photo books, calendars, stationery, marketing articles or T-shirts, in small or large volumes – the customized large-scale production of digital print articles is catching on. Already, 72% of all questioned commercial printers worldwide offer variable data printing services; in the US its proportion is even higher (87%). While the proportion of variable pages remains small, 56% of participants reported moderate or fast growth. Increasing numbers of commercial printers offer a wide range of print products that can be both sold on the web and personalized. These trends are confirmed by the “drupa Global Trends” report published in spring 2014: 38% of commercial printers and 32% of publishing printers expressed their intention to invest in digital electrophotographic colour sheet printers.

Interactive printing on the increase in the publishing and packaging segment
Interactivity is the watchword as print customers are realizing the power of communicating via the Internet and mobile technologies directly with their target audiences on a 1-2-1 basis. Cross-media campaigns, with data acquisition/analysis and the use of several channels (e.g. PURLs, Email, SMS), are increasingly demanded by customers. The range of applied technologies includes QR codes, other smart-print options, augmented reality and near-field communication. One third of the drupa panel of experts already offers interactive print of one form or another, i.e. interactive response elements in publications, business communications, advertisements, packaging and outdoor advertisements. As was to be expected, there are major regional differences: in the US 44% of printing companies which took part in the survey offer interactive printing, but only 3% of providers in the Middle East. A substantial proportion of drupa panel members from the packaging sector also use Internet-based tools. 50% use QR codes, 43% use variable content, and 41% of all packaging printers that took part in the survey offer personalized print.

This first drupa Global Insight report is based on a very detailed survey covering a wide range of topics assessing the impact of the Internet on print. The survey dealt with many other issues such as CRM, Digital Asset Management and ‘Big Data’, as well as the automation of workflows, and the need for companies to have better IT skills. It investigated how the increasing digitization of communications is affecting the demand for conventional print and the demand for different print substrates (paper, board, film, metal or glass)? The “drupa Global Insights” report provides some informative answers. It concludes that printers need to accept the reality of an Internet-driven multi-channel digital future, change their approach and invest accordingly.
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