“drupa Global Insights” Report Examines the Impact of the Internet on the Printing Industry

CHICAGO—September 3, 2014—The first results of the “drupa Global Insights” report on “The Impact of the Internet on Print—The digital flood” are available now:

  • Changing demand for print but strong opportunities for growth remain
  • Success of mass customization of print
  • Increasing acceptance of interactive print in packaging

These results illustrate how many Internet-enabled tools such as Web-to-print, variable data printing, interactive print such as Augmented Reality and QR codes and smart technologies such as printed electronics, will impact most areas of the printing industry. In spring 2014, about 1,100 international key executives from the printing industry took part in the online survey.

Print service providers and the supplier industry on the one hand and their customers on the other are required to deal with new challenges and opportunities. Werner Dornscheidt, president and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, underlined the relevance of the drupa study: “With its detailed analysis of the global markets and the overview of current trends, the ‘drupa Global Insights’ report is an important contribution to strategic decisions that need to be made by printers and suppliers alike.”

The continuous rise of ecommerce
Ecommerce is growing in most global regions at rapid rates and printers have to catch-up. While 51 percent of the survey participants had Web-to-print services, only 14 percent reported that it made up more than 25 percent of their orders. Nevertheless, in the catalog market, publishers understand that print catalogs drive online sales and a majority of 60 percent of the catalog printers reported growth in on-demand digital production.

The shift to mass customization
Whether it is photo books, calendars, stationery, marketing articles or T-shirts, in small or large volumes ­ the customized large-scale production of digital print articles is catching on. Already 72 percent of all surveyed commercial printers worldwide offer variable data printing services; in the United States its proportion is even higher (87 percent). While the proportion of variable pages remains small, 56 percent of participants reported moderate or fast growth. Increasing numbers of commercial printers offer a wide range of print products that can be both sold on the Web and personalized. These trends are confirmed by the “drupa Global Trends” report published in spring 2014: 38 percent of commercial printers and 32 percent of publishing printers were interested in investing in digital electrophotographic color sheet printers.

Interactive printing on the rise in the publishing and packaging segment Interactivity is the keyword since print customers are recognizing the power of communicating via the Internet and mobile technologies directly with their target audiences on a 1-2-1 basis. Cross-media campaigns, with data acquisition/analysis and the use of several channels (e.g. PURLs, e-mail, SMS), are increasingly demanded by customers. The range of applied technologies includes QR codes, other smart-print options, augmented reality and near-field communication. One third of the drupa survey participants already offer interactive print of one form or another, i.e. interactive response elements in publications, business communications, advertisements, packaging and outdoor advertisements. As expected, there are major regional differences: in the United States, 44 percent of the surveyed printing companies offer interactive printing, but only 3 percent of providers in the Middle East. A substantial proportion of survey members from the packaging sector also use Internet-based tools. 50 percent use QR codes, 43 percent use variable content and 41 percent of all packaging printers offer personalized print.

This first “drupa Global Insights” report is based on a very detailed survey covering a wide range of topics assessing the impact of the Internet on print. The survey dealt with many other issues such as CRM, Digital Asset Management and “Big Data” as well as the automation of workflows and the need for companies to have better IT skills. It investigated how the increasing digitization of communications is affecting the demand for conventional print and the demand for different print substrates (paper, board, film, metal or glass). The “drupa Global Insights” report concludes that printers need to accept the reality of an Internet-driven multi-channel digital future, change their approach and invest accordingly.

The English version of the “drupa Global Insights” report will be released in mid-October 2014; the Executive Summary will be available in seven languages (German, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Chinese).

Source: Messe Düsseldorf North America.

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