Global print industry – 9th drupa Global Trends Report

Increasing confidence in most markets despite economic headwinds

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This drupa report infographic shows the top two technology preferences for investment in publishing, commercial printing and packaging Infographic drupa

The 9th drupa Global Trends Report, to be published in November 2023, is a clear statement of increasing confidence across almost all regions and markets. Printers and suppliers alike forecast it will be even better next year which is probably good for drupa 2024.

The findings come from the 9th Global Trends in-depth survey, run this spring by Printfuture (UK) and Wissler (CH), when over 600 printers and suppliers from the drupa Expert Panel of senior decision makers. Globally 32% more printers and suppliers described their company’s economic condition as ‘good’ compared with those that reported it as ‘poor’. Amongst printers, almost all regions and markets were more buoyant than in 2019, i.e. before Covid.

Richard Gray, Operations director at Printfuture, stated,While positive forecasts might be expected from packaging and functional printers, what was pleasing was the increasing confidence amongst commercial and publishing printers.” It would appear that commercial and publishing printers have weathered the worst of the impact of digitization, [and] are starting to plan ahead with more confidence.

Higher prices bring more confidence

The source of such confidence across all markets is clear from the financial performance figures provided. Globally, 50% more printers raised prices in 2023 than lowered them, sustaining the pattern of last year, after the previous seven years of falling prices. Better revenues and margins have followed. This pattern was true across all markets, although there were regional variations.

Digital adoption growing but adoption rate slowing down

The resilience of sheetfed offset print volume across all markets is remarkable, matched amongst packaging printers by growth in flexo. Digital toner-based cut-sheet color print volume remains the leader among digital print technologies. Globally, the digital adoption – printers claiming more than 25% of turnover in digital – is growing from 26% in 2014 to 29% in 2023. At first sight this is only a modest growth. However, various industry sources show volumes have grown significantly since 2014 even though the digital adoption rate appears to be slowing down.

Improving confidence Web700
The 9th drupa global print industry report shows confidence returning in all regions. The biggest year to year improvement is in Asia, Africa and Latin America, while North America and Europe show the least change in expectations
Infographic drupa

Good prospects for investment in 2024

Capital expenditure tumbled during Covid, recovered a little last year and accelerated this year with 27% more printers investing more in 2023 than those who reduced expenditure; a better global figure than any year since 2017. An even higher investment rate is forecast for 2024, by both printers and suppliers. In general, print technology and finishing remain the most popular targets, with sheetfed offset and digital toner-based cut-sheet color being the most popular technologies globally, though there are significant variations by market.

Strong industry growth forecasts must of course be balanced by recognition of stiff economic headwinds, with the risk of recession, or at least damaging inflation, now outweighing the impact of the pandemic and a wide variety of more specific regional socio-economic concerns.

Sabine Geldermann, director drupa and global head of Print Technologies at Messe Duesseldorf, commented, “Printers and suppliers know they must innovate to succeed in the longer term. I am confident that drupa 2024 will be the ideal opportunity to explore how best to achieve this objective.”

Full drupa report in mid-November

The full report in English will be released by mid of November and will be available for sale from www.drupa.com. The executive summary will be available for free in German, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Chinese.

Under the umbrella of the megatrends sustainability and digitalisation the international print and packaging sector will meet at drupa from 28 May to 7 June 2024. The world’s leading trade fair for print technologies is synonymous with inspiration, innovations, high-calibre knowledge transfer and intense networking. This is where the international top decision-makers of the industry meet and exchange ideas on current technology trends and ground-breaking developments. Tickets for drupa 2024 are now available in the ticket shop at www.drupa.com.

 

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are grown similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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