Print media is something that runs throughout every part of a business’ operations. From manufacturing to packaging, distribution to retail, an effective print strategy can prove invaluable to a company’s operations. It’s no surprise, then, that in this increasingly digital landscape the print industry continues to thrive.

The 2018 FESPA Print Census, surveying over 1,400 print businesses operating across mediums and markets, found that 83% were optimistic about the future for their company. Whilst many respondents have successfully diversified into digital markets, with around 44% of total revenues now coming through this channel, there is still a lot of optimism about the future of print and what it can offer customers and businesses.

New Technologies Growing the Print Industry

As the statistics above show, print has seen the same challenges presented to itself by the growth of digital media as have been observed in other sectors. One of the most significant effects that online has had in the print industry is the expectation of quicker goods turnarounds. In the FESPA survey, 72% of businesses reported an increasing demand for fast turnaround projects, whilst 61% and 59% of respondents also saw increases in short runs and just-in-time delivery plans respectively.

This increasing desire for rapid production times has forced print companies to modernise. Thankfully, the print industry has taken huge strides over the last five-to-ten years regarding the technology available to major businesses. This technological boom has not only helped print businesses cope with rapid changes in consumer expectations but has also allowed many to diversify, particularly in terms of print surfaces. In the FESPA study, whilst the majority of print sales still come through traditional formats, such as posters and billboards, around 80% of businesses said that they were now producing more work on textiles and packaging. 74% of companies in the survey also saw print décor, such as wallpapers, as a growth area for their business going forward.

As with many industries, print also has to answer growing concerns about the environmental impact of its practices. 76% of surveyed companies stated that consumer demand for environmentally responsible products was shaping their future business plans, which for many will involve further technology investments. According to the survey, 72% of PSPs have been able to invest in their sustainability practices – through purchasing VOC-free inks, developing end-of-life recycling plans and so on – whilst maintaining cost competitiveness. This excellent stability is thanks to the strong technological developments in the industry over the last few years.

Increased Opportunities for Business through Print

These fantastic gains across the print industry are not only good news for those businesses directly involved but also for the broader corporate landscape as a whole. As mentioned at the beginning, print plays a vital role across many aspects of business production and outputs, and a diversifying portfolio will only increase its reach in the future.

The increasing technological capabilities of many print businesses have opened up more possibilities for other sectors. An example of this is UV-curable inkjet, which was mentioned in the 2017 FESPA Print study as one of the main points of investment for print businesses. The nature of UV-curable ink means that it is ideal for rigid surfaces such as glass, acrylics and metal, so as the technology develops it will become cheaper to get a bespoke print onto what were once challenging surfaces.

Growing optimism, technological advances and increasing consumer demand mean that the print industry is in a particularly healthy position, and these benefits should be realised in your business, also. Here at ERA, we specialise in helping major companies evaluate their current procurement strategies to develop tangible, long-term corporate cost savings. Our experienced team can assist you in a range of cost areas, including print, to make sure you’re not spending more than is required. So, if you’re interested in evaluating your expenses, why not speak to our team today and see what opportunities we could create for you?