Tough times for German printers

BVDM 3rd Survey of German Printers

BVDM’s last congress on digital printing before the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: IPP | German printers
BVDM’s last congress on digital printing before the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: IPP

Early December, the German Printers and Media Federation, the BVDM, undertook its third survey on the state of the printing industry in Germany this year. The results show that 90% of German printers have been confronted with order decreases and cancellations – presumably due to the Covid pandemic. Of these, 60% report that the pandemic has battered their businesses.

Even though printers appear to be slightly more optimistic than during the BVDM surveys of April and June, about one-third of all printing enterprises expect a decrease in sales turnover of 25% or more for this year. 40% of the printers surveyed expect that sales will not improve before autumn 2021 at the earliest.

Financial support of the German government

Most printers – around 80%, are making use of a part-time scheme for their production staff, with government financial support. Nevertheless, 40% expect to be compelled to revert to lay-offs in the near future. Three-quarters of all enterprises decided to postpone investments, 63% canceled certain investments altogether, compared to the June survey when only 55% of the enterprises expected to delay investments and 27% to cancel their investment plans.

The survey results are based on forms completed by more than 400 representative enterprises in the printing industry, of whom 75% employ less than 50 staff, and another 20% with less than 20 staff. BVDM claims that the survey covers all printing industry segments, with most participants – 70%, in commercial printing.

With 12,000 companies, 180,000 staff, and Euro 40 billion (approximately Rs 3,00,000 crore) sales turnover, the German printing industry is the largest in the European Union. It compares to the EU’s total numbers of 120,000 companies, 630,000 staff, and Euro 88 billion (approximately Rs 6,60,000 crore) sales turnover. In much of Europe, the printing industry’s situation is very similar to that of their colleagues in Germany.

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