DRUPA finds it hard to be optimistic about publishing

You probably won't need the seventh DRUPA Global Trends Report to tell you that publishing shows "the clearest evidence of active decline in revenues".

That packaging, functional and commercial market sectors "thrive" (their word) better, in that order.

And that an industry which "coped with the last severe recession and will cope well enough with a global slowdown, even though now it will be exaggerated by the impact of the corona virus". The crucial difference, it says is that, "in most markets, the industry has adapted their business models to the challenge of digital communications".

The seventh report published by organisers of the (now postponed) Düsseldorf international print trade show is surprisingly upbeat, although acknowledging packaging and functional market sectors are "better placed" than publishing and commercial.

Findings come from an survey last November to DRUPA's 'expert panel of senior decision takers' recruited from printers and exhibitors at the 2016 show and run by Printfuture (UK) and Wissler & Partner (CH). Almost 600 printers and almost 200 suppliers participated with all regions well represented.

Globally 17 per cent more printers described their company's economic condition as 'good' compared with those who reported it as 'poor', and suppliers were even more positive balance at 32 per cent. "However, there is a clear trend with confidence peaking in 2017 after the long slow recovery following the 2007/8 recession and a more cautious approach developing since," it says.

An increasing number of commercial and publishing printers are attempting to diversify into the other two markets, with margins struggling and publishing showing the clearest evidence of active decline in revenues.

With printers recognising the need to innovate, DRUPA director Sabine Geldermann says investment plans "remain strong". Again publishing printers were the least inclined to raise capital expenditure.

The full report is available for sale from DRUPA; an executive summary is free.

Pictured: At least organisers found an attractive use for newspapers while promoting DRUPAcity in 2016; degrees of optimism in the 2019 report

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