Indian print Industry is back – TechNova Imaging Systems

 Digital ‘packvertising’ at Printpack India 

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TechNova HP at PP
L to R – Amit Khurana (TechNova), Umesh Kagade (HP), Deepak Chawla (TechNova) and A Appadurai (HP) at TechNova’s Printpack stand Photo PSA

Almost all the segments of the Indian print industry have shown a strong comeback in the last six to 12 months, Amit Khurana, chief operating officer, digital and offset printing at TechNova, said, during the 15th Printpack India in Greater Noida.

“The Indian print industry is back. When we entered the Covid-19 lockdown, nobody had any idea where the industry was headed and how the future would look. Everyone was expecting big demand destruction. Fortunately, those fears never came true. At this point in time, almost all segments of the print industry are back to pre-Covid levels,” Khurana said.

Khurana said that the publishing industry has seen a huge growth in the last six months driven by three main factors. First is the fact that almost nothing was printed in the last two years, so there is now a pent-up demand. Second, a shift is happening from China to India when it comes to manufacturing. And finally, the publishing industry is seeing strong demand for short-run work. 

“Publishers do not want huge quantities at one go now but want them in batches. The rise of eCommerce is driving this change. I see a big growth in digital printing in the publishing industry and it will co-exist with traditional offset technology,” Khurana said. 

The Indian newspaper industry, Khurana said, was still at about 85-90% of the pre-Covid levels. “But this is very good news because newspapers are still there. During the early stages of the pandemic, many people said the newspaper would not survive the lockdown. Hindi newspapers are back at pre-Covid levels but metros are yet to catch up. I am an optimist and believe that newspapers will innovate and come back stronger,” he said.

Indian packaging is ‘well above’ pre-Covid levels

Packaging is among the strongest segments in the printing industry. Khurana said that the industry is ‘well above’ the pre-Covid levels as large brands have tried to expand into tier-2 and tier-3 cities during the last couple of years.

“While the large brands have been expanding in tier-2 and 3-cities, smaller brands are trying to connect with consumers using packaging innovation. A lot of packaging innovation is happening due to digital technology. [Several] startups have given a boost to digital technology in packaging,” Khurana asserted. 

Deepak Chawla, general manager, of marketing and corporate communications, said that eCommerce is a great leveler as smaller brands can use their packaging to advertise their products. “Small brands do not have the capital to run extensive advertising campaigns. They are using eCommerce platforms to promote their products using innovative packaging and compete with bigger brands. There is a buzzword for this, ‘packvertising,’ Chawla added. 

TechNova’s ‘Experience the New’ theme at Printpack

At the 15th Printpack, TechNova’s theme was ‘Experience the New.’ The company showcased new offerings from across its product portfolio which include plates, chemicals, media, digital presses, finishing equipment, and 3D printing. The company has tied up with US-based Markforged for 3D printing solutions. The TechNova stand also demonstrated the HP Indigo 6K press as the company has tied up with HP to distribute the Indigo label and folding carton presses in India.

“The HP partnership gives us the unique strength to address the B2-format segment. The tie-up addresses and strengthens our packaging segment. The label segment was not a big strength at TechNova, so that gap has been filled,” said Khurana. 

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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Correspondent-Mumbai Shardul has been working and editorially contributing to both Indian Printer and Publisher and Packaging South Asia since 2011, covering the western regions of India. He has extensively covered variety of verticals in both printing and packaging industries. On personal front, he has keen interest in sports and music.

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