2019 is fast disappearing out of view for us all so in today`s blog we thought we would look back at some of the major trends in the print industry and how the sector has fared in what has been quite a year, what with the ongoing Brexit saga, the General Election and so much uncertainty in the general economy.
Printing Industry Trends
There was an excellent article in one of the latest Print Week editions looking back at some of the major trends in print and here is a selection of some of the thoughts in this article:
Nicholas Mockett, head of packaging M&A at Moorgate Capital:
“Printers are coming together to realign capacity and exploit economies of scale,” he says. “A bigger business should be able to spread overheads and may also have synergies on the supply side – such as procurement of paper, inks and capital equipment.”
What’s more, he adds, acquirers may be attracted by growth in specialist print markets – particularly the printed packaging segment, given the rise of online shopping.
The trend looks set to continue, he says. “I cannot foresee traditional print markets ceasing to exist entirely, but segments will continue to see decline. Specialist printing markets and services will continue to experience growth in 2020 and beyond.”
The Future Can Be Bright For Small Printing Outfits
“As consolidation continues, printers may find that they are unable to compete with larger players. However, with scale comes complexity and a more fleet-of-foot enterprise may be able to service customers more adeptly.”
ICSM Credit owner Ian Carrotte suggests the trend is due to wider shifts in shopping and marketing, which have become increasingly digital.
“The internet, technology and the overall economy have all played their part in cutting the need for print,” he says. “The decline of the high street as the go-to place to buy almost anything has had a knock-on effect.
“For every large business that goes to the wall, several printers, paper manufacturers, and signage and graphic designers are all hit.”
Competition & Squeeze On Profitability
RSM UK restructuring advisory director David Shaw, meanwhile, cites market saturation: “There continues to be a squeeze on profitability with high levels of competition driving prices down, costs increasing and no real overall growth within the sector”.
Aside from digitisation and retail market shifts, he lists common factors contributing to market challenges as including paper, pay, and energy costs; the tightening of GDPR which impacts traditional use of direct marketing; and reduced credit insurance limits.
So what can those struggling do? Shaw suggests looking to professionals for advice: “Acting early can reduce the impact on suppliers, employees, and lenders alike”.
Carrotte adds: “For a firm to survive a downturn, it needs to pull in any excesses”. And to avoid issues in the first place, he says, “cash flow is king, so the most important rule for all firms is to have a disciplined credit control”.
Sustainable Printing A Top Trend
Never before has such a variety of recycled paper, sustainable inks, plastic film and polywrap alternatives, and energy-efficient equipment been available, and printers are embracing it with growing speed.
Print Consultants managing director Gerrard Moss says: “We’re seeing printers thinking about sustainability right from the beginning of the process – from where they source their paper to what inks they use.”
Many print companies have made their eco-friendly credentials a drawcard to match growing environmental concern among clients – and the trend seems set to continue, with climate issues increasingly in the public eye. As Clare Taylor Consulting senior consultant Clare Taylor says, “sustainability is finally coming off the back pages and into the mainstream”.
In sum, it’s been a colourful year. What’s certain is that the industry still offers many opportunities, whatever cuts it may have suffered, and with new areas for growth and focus, continuous change, and fresh sustainability goals, print is set for a vibrant 2020.
Ronset Printers Looking To Forge Ahead In The New Year
A great article and we very much concur with the summing up of the print industry going into 2020. We will be looking to forge ahead and expand as ever so if you require any printing materials in the new year you know that you will be in safe hands with Ronset Printers. For all enquiries either fill in the form at https://www.ronset.co.uk/get-a-quote/ or give our offices a call on 01254 297100.