The ninth drupa Global Trends Report, published in mid-November, sees growing confidence in almost all regions and markets. Print service providers and suppliers alike expect an even better development for the coming year.
The results come from the Global Trends Report online survey conducted this spring by Printfuture (UK) and Wissler (CH). More than 600 international decision-makers took part. Globally, 32 % more printers and suppliers described their company’s current economic situation as “good” compared to those who described it as “poor”. In terms of print service providers, almost all regions and markets were more optimistic than in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Richard Gray, operations director at Print future, says: “While positive forecasts were expected from packaging and functional printers, the growing confidence among commercial and publishing printers is particularly encouraging.” It seems that commercial and publishing printers have overcome the greatest impact of digitization and are now more optimistic about the future.
Higher prices bring more confidence
The reasons for the increased confidence in all markets can be seen in the financial performance figures. In 2023, 50% more printers worldwide raised their prices than lowered them, continuing last year’s trend after seven years of falling prices. The result is improved revenues and margins.
Digital adoption on the rise
This also applies to growth in flexo printing among packaging printers. Digital toner colour printing on cut-sheets remains the volume leader in the digital printing sector. Digital adoption continues to rise globally – with the share of print service providers generating more than 25% of their revenue from digital increasing from 26% in 2014 to 29% in 2023. At first glance, this is modest growth. However, various industry sources show that volumes have increased significantly since 2014.
Good prospects for investment
Investment spending slumped during the Corona pandemic, recovered a little last year and picked up this year. Thus, there is a positive balance of 27% in favor of those print service providers who increased their capital expenditure in 2023 compared to those who cut back; a better overall figure than in any year since 2017. An even higher rate of capital expenditure is forecast for 2024, both by print service providers and by suppliers/engineers. In general, the most significant investments will be in printing technologies and finishing.
However, the positive growth prospects of the industry must be put in relation to the economic challenges. The risk of recession, or at least high inflation, now overshadows the impact of the pandemic and a host of specific regional socio-economic problems.
Sabine Geldermann, Director drupa, Print Technologies Messe Düsseldorf, sums up: “Print service providers and suppliers are aware that innovation is essential for long-term success. Against this backdrop, drupa 2024 offers comprehensive solutions and best cases to position themselves for the future and secure a competitive advantage.”
Under the thematic umbrella of the megatrends sustainability and digitalisation, the international print and packaging industry will meet at drupa from 28 May to 7 June 2024. The world’s leading trade fair for printing technologies stands for inspiration, innovations, top-class knowledge transfer and intensive networking. This is where top international decision-makers in the industry meet and exchange views on the latest technology trends and groundbreaking developments.