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Drupa reports commercial volumes in decline

Friday, 03 May 2019
By Wayne Robinson

The sixth drupa Global Trends Report is the first to reveal that commercial sheetfed volumes are in decline, and says digital is some way from making up for the loss in print.

According to the report, as far as commercial sheetfed printers are concerned “a decisive fall in volume was reported for the first time”, although of course there are variations.

The Australian and New Zealand markets are not identified directly, but any printer over here would tell you volumes have not just declined but plummeted over the past decade. Commercial grade paper import figures indicate the decline is showing no signs of easing up.

The drupa report, though, says that printers around the world are mainly optimistic about the future as the lead-in to the big show begins.

Digital printing is a growing part of the commercial world, but it is not surging: the report reveals that, since 2013 when digital accounted for 23 per cent of commercial printers’ work, today it is just 29 per cent, indicating a rise of one per cent per year.

Variable data, one of the key propositions of digital printing, is still to find traction; according to the report, it still accounts for less than one per cent of all print.

According to the report, “the packaging market thrives, as does functional, but there are clear signs of increasing caution in the commercial market, and publishing remains subdued with the encouraging exception of the books market.”

The drupa Printer Barometer of economic confidence shows a positive net balance of +27 per cent. This figures comes from 40 per cent of printers who described their company as in a good condition, and 13 per cent who described it as poor. The balance answered satisfactory. The net positive balance +27 per cent is the overall result.

Some 620 print businesses were surveyed for the report, half of them in Europe.

Sabine Geldermann, director drupa, Messe Duesseldorf, commented, “The report shows that with a little more than a year to go to drupa 2020, the global industry is in robust health overall. Clearly, there are significant differences in prospects across different regions and markets as demand rapidly changes with economic conditions and evolving uses of print. That is the real value of this drupa Global Trends series. It allows readers to track those trends over time and identify how printers and suppliers alike can best invest to secure a strong future within the industry.”

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