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.