As 2017 draws to a close, what label printing trends are emerging that you should pay attention to over the next 6 to 12 months? What technologies will stick, and what might be forgotten? We have really enjoyed our experience at various print expos this year, where we have had a chance to chat with many of the trendsetters in the label printing business. Let’s take a look at some of the top emerging trends and how they are changing the label printing industry.
The general outlook for the global label printing marketplace is bright. Since 2013, according to market research by the Smithers Group, average annual growth has consistently topped 7%, while some businesses have experienced growth rates of 20% to 30% or more. Will this continue into 2018? We expect so, yes. One consequence of this growth is that label printing has become a buyers’ market. Clients are more knowledgeable, resourceful and field more in-house expertise than ever before. They expect a strategic, responsive and flexible approach to label printing, and will actively select printing businesses who are able to fulfil and exceed their expectations.
So our advice is: take some time to review your current infrastructure and assess your capacity to respond to changing market demands. You may be able to capitalise on additional growth by investing in new print assets over the next 12 months.
Prices: Some Up, Some Down
The price of offset printing continues to fall. Again, based on estimates from The Smithers Group, the market price of paper offset printing is estimated to have fallen by 11% on their 2008 levels by 2018. Clearly, there is still a high demand for offset printing, but it is seen as commanding less market value. On the other hand, the price of digital printing continues to rise, with an average increase of 22% over the same 10 year period. This change reflects the increasing complexity of digital print processes and the high demand for flexible, digital printing.
Shorter Print Runs
Print run volumes have consistently dropped year on year, with no sign of this abating. This change is fuelling the increased adoption of digital technologies across the industry, and the higher market prices available to businesses that invest in digital. For businesses that already use digital technology, there is also market pressure to invest in more productive and energy efficient presses, in order to accommodate a larger volume of jobs and cut back on the high production costs of digital printing.
Full scale digital adoption is set to continue, but so is digital enhancement. This is due to the range of new possibilities actuated by digital technology over the last couple of years. Not only can businesses incorporate full digital presses into their production line, but also a number of independent technologies to assist with off-line finishing, in-line digital printing or hybrid digital/Flexo solutions. This creative use of digital technology allows businesses to have fingers in what used to be quite distinct market pies. There is no longer the same rigid separation between businesses that use offset printing, versus those that use digital presses, and so on. The opportunities for businesses that embrace this changed landscape are going to be huge in the next year.
Stay One Step Ahead Of Your Competitors
The label orienting printing industry has witnessed a lot of technical innovation over the past decade. Digitised prepress and printing technology, advancement in hybrid and Flexo presses, colour management modules and sophisticated finishing solutions are just a few of the new technologies that we now take for granted. There is no indication that the next five years will see a slowing down of this trend. As a label printing business, it is for you to decide how best to invest your capital to take full advantage of these developments. Targeted investment in new printing technology can help reduce costs, increase productivity and boost your market share by diversifying your services.
Speak to one of our team at Focus Labels to find out more about your options. You can also download our free guide: How To Stay Ahead In The Label Printing Industry, which explains the impact of technology on the industry, and why it is cheaper to invest now, rather than make do with the equipment you have. Download a free copy by clicking here.