Messe Düsseldorf, the organizer of the drupa trade fair, recently published a “drupa Global Insights Report” on the impact of the Internet on print. It’s based on responses to a survey from more than 1,000 senior decision-makers in the printing industry, including 240 who furnished personal examples of the impact in their own companies.
As might be expected, the packaging sector has been faring rather well, mostly because of its limited exposure to the kinds of disintermediation and replacement that the Internet has brought to other categories. It’s true that the demand for conventionally produced packaging, like the demand for all other forms of conventionally produced print, has experienced some shrinkage over the last five years. But, the outlook is bright: the report projects that world packaging sales, coming in at just under $800 billion in 2013, should grow at an annual rate of 4% to 2018 in all end-use sectors.
The report salutes packagers for taking more opportunities to cut lead times, cost, and waste with just-in-time and on-demand production routines. However, it’s also a bit critical of the segment’s slowness to adopt digital technologies. Accounting for some of the resistance is the issue of scalability: the difficulty of making digital printing competitive on a unit-cost basis in the very large volumes that package printing and converting usually entails. Increasing mass customization—the production of versioned and personalized packages—is what primarily will drive the adoption of digital methods in the packaging sector, the report observes.
Book, magazine, and newspaper publishing, direct mail, catalogs, and commercial printing are treated in the same depth of detail by the report, which examines how these markets have been affected by the rise of paperless alternatives, mobile communications, and e-commerce. The 50-page “Global Insights Report” may be ordered from Messe Düsseldorf here.
drupa 2016 is getting near enough to think about, and it’s probably safe to assume that the pre-show publicity will be in full swing by this time next year if not sooner. Closer to the present moment is Graph Expo 2014, the subject this week of the third installment of our post-show coverage. We do hope that you’ve been finding the writeups useful.