While the full report is not published until the end of the month, an initial set of findings has been released, to whet the appetite of those willing to pay for the full details. “The study for 2017 is the most gratifying report so far for the majority of print service providers and suppliers in most markets and regions since the annual industry survey was launched in 2013,” says Drupa.
Packaging continues to be the most vibrant area for investment with 45% of printers reporting an increase in their capital investment levels. However, even commercial printers are more optimistic than in previous surveys, even if some parts of their market continue to struggle with strategic changes. Price and margin pressure is a global phenomenon.
Publication printers, while escaping the ebook bulldozer, continue to be unsure of their prospects and continue to suffer price declines. Just 20% of printers in this sector have increased spending on capital equipment.
Across the world, the North American market is the most bullish with a steady improvement in confidence detected in Europe. However, this is in contrast to the outlook for the industry in Africa and the Middle East. This has translated into increasing investment for 51% of US printers during 2017. Just 18% of printers in the Australasia region reported an increased on investment levels for the same period.
The spend is directed to finishing technologies, followed by print and then software for MIS and workflows. Analogue printing continues to dominate the spending aims for more commercial and packaging printers, while in informational and function printing, digital is now dominant, though has made only a minor impact in packaging print.
The Global Trends Report is produced by UK consultancy Print Future and Wissler & Partner from Switzerland. Print Future operations director Richard Gray says: “Print service providers and suppliers are aware of the strategic challenges facing the printing industry. Nevertheless, they are confident about the future and appreciate the future of print in most markets and regions. However, only on the premise that print service providers carefully analyse their respective target markets and introduce appropriate innovations to meet the future needs of their customers.”
Drupa director Sabine Geldermann adds: “The fifth Drupa Global Trends Report proves that the printing industry is optimistic about the future. After the global economic crisis in 2008 and the rapidly advancing digitalisation, the industry is making use of the continuous economic upswing. Companies are developing new business models, opening up innovative future technologies and, in an impressive manner, expanding print's diverse application areas.”