Initial results from the second ‘drupa Global Trends’ report are showing sustained recovery from the recession with some surprising insights and positive feedback. The report is designed to highlight economic and operational trends in the worldwide print sector.
The results are all the more interesting since the survey itself, conducted in October 2014, was largely identical to the first ‘drupa Global Trends’ report from February 2014. In addition, this year a full survey was conducted amongst industry suppliers for the first time, ensuring a balanced representation of the global print market. The report includes developments and important key data from the worldwide print sector, such as financial conditions, business climate, investment plans and technologies used as well as trends.
Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, summarised the key results of the study, ‘The generally upbeat picture reported by the expert panel surprised us. Both the print service providers and the international supplier industry gave a positive evaluation of the economic situation of their own companies as of October 2014. Even more surprising, however, was that the print and supplier industry is heading into 2015 with a very positive outlook.’
The question ‘How do you see the outlook for the coming twelve months?’ was answered by 48 percent of service providers surveyed with expectations of an improvement in their companies’ economic situation while only seven percent expect a decline. The results from the worldwide supplier industry were also positive: 51 percent forecast an improvement and only eight percent a decline.
On the other hand, the results of the individual performance measures surveyed are much more diverse:
1. Sales for print service providers continue to rise, but are less pronounced. 39% of print service providers report an increase, whereas 22 percent show a drop in sales. This positive balance of 17 percent is well below the positive net balance of 27 percent from the first survey.
2. The margins for print service providers continue to fall. Almost half (43 percent) of the print service providers surveyed report falling margins, while just 16% succeeded in increasing margins. Positive exceptions here are the markets of North America and the Middle East, where 29 percent and 28 percent reported increased margins.
3. Digital print is growing fast but is still a small percentage of turnover for most printers. As quickly as the share of digital printing in the overall print technology mix continues to rise, most turnover continues to be generated from traditional print. Only 10% of the print service providers surveyed generated more than 25 percent of their 2014 sales in digital printing (2013: eight percent).
4. Print service providers are not turning to services outside the print sector. Often recommended as a new business area, but not yet realised in practice: Just 27 percent of the print providers surveyed get more than 10 percent of their sales from services outside the print sector (e.g. asset management for customers, updating databases, etc.).
Drawing an initial conclusion from the second ‘drupa Global Trends’ report, those surveyed feel pretty positive, even if some measures are still showing negative trends. This general optimism is supported by the investment plans cited both by print service providers and supplier companies.
More than 1100 international decision-makers from the print industry and their suppliers responded to the comprehensive survey in October 2014. The independent market research company Wissler & Partner (Switzerland) and Printfuture (UK) evaluated and prepared the results.