The sixth Global Trends Report of drupa shows that the printing industry is in good health, as a whole. Some markets and regions do much better than others, but overall data remain positive.

The report proposes the results from the sixth annual survey carried out last autumn by drupa on an Expert Panel selected by drupa printers and exhibitors 2016.

Over 600 printers and 200 suppliers participated in the study, with all regions sufficiently represented.

High and low printing market

At global level, 40% of printers said that their company’s economic condition was Compared to 13% who described their condition as “poor” while the rest was “satisfactory”.

This gives a net positive balance of 27%. For suppliers the positive net balance was 19%. Both groups remain optimistic, with 50% probability that things will get better in 2019.

Conditions vary between regions and between different markets. North America continued to grow strongly in 2018, and Europe and Australia continued to grow. While Asia, the Middle East and South and Central America went slower and Africa saw a decline.

The 2018 results reflect a consolidated pattern in most regions. Although, Drupa adds, decline in the Middle East and Central and South America seems to be worsening.

The packaging market thrives as well as the functional market. However, Drupa claims that there are clear signs of increasing caution in the commercial market and publishing remains subtone. The latter, with the encouraging exception of the book market.

Despite the enormous pressure on the margins, most printers can earn. It does so by increasing revenue through increased use and maintaining the overall costs as stable as possible.

At a global level drupa noted a slight increase in prices, despite the significant increases in paper and substrate prices. Suppliers also saw revenues and prices rise globally, but with even greater margin decline.

Traditional and digital printing

Traditional printing volumes continue to decrease, but slowly. In 2013, 23% of printers reported that digital printing accounted for more than 25% of turnover. In 2018, the percentage of printers had increased to 29%.

However, sheet offset remains the most common format of printing technology, present in 66% of cases. The volume of the sheet offset continues to grow in packaging, but for the first time there has been a sharp decline in the commercial sector.

Web to Print volumes are rising, but, again, slowly. In 2014, 17% of participants with W2P installations declared that more than 25% of turnover came from this source. By 2018, this percentage had increased to 23%. However, the percentage of printers with W2P installations is stable: 25% in 2014 and 25% in 2018.

In terms of capital expenditure, 41% of printers spent more in 2018 than in 2017. While only 15% spent less and expenditure grew in all regions except Africa.

Those in the packaging and functional markets have been very much on the rise, while those in the commercial and publishing markets have been more cautious. Basically the same pattern was also registered among suppliers.

The most common target for 2019 for printers are the finishing options, followed by printing technology and then by PrePress, Workflow, Mis.

As for printing technology, the digital colour sheet was the most common investment target for 2019. This is for all markets except packaging, where the sheet offset has taken first place.

However, the packaging market has seen a 5% growth in the proportion of digital printing in all applications, except for labels where the figure is already 40%.

The full report is available on drupa website, at this link.

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