Emerging Markets to Drive Recovery of Global Printed Business Communications from 2010-14

LEATHERHEAD, UK—November 25, 2009—Competing with new electronic communication methods, the global print market for business communication is expected to decline to $50.8 billion in 2009, according to a new study by Pira International. From 2010 onwards, there will be a general recovery spearheaded by emerging markets, with the sector touching $53.8 billion in 2014.

Based on primary research and expert analysis, “The Future of Printed Business Communications” breaks down the global market by product types, print processes and region, with five-year forecasts to 2014. The study also provides an up-to-date overview of key technology developments, drivers and environmental considerations affecting the business communications market.

The study segments the market for printed business communications into seven product types: annual reports and financial print; company brochures and literature; business cheques; transactional print; business forms; letterheads and stationery; and business cards. Letterheads and stationery continued to be the single largest market sector in 2009 with value sales of $14.4 billion, followed by transactional print and business forms.

Most of today’s business communication print is document based, with offset litho and digital print the key technologies used, and virtually no gravure, flexo or silkscreen. There is also now a significant shift from offset printing to digital, reflecting the need for cost effective production of shorter runs and increased customisation to make the print more consumer friendly.

In 2009, web offset was the largest market for print processes at $17.8 billion, followed by sheetfed at $15.7 billion and electrophotography at $13.7 billion. Pira International predicts that conventional print processes will show a declining trend till 2014, while digital processes such as electrophotography and inkjet will increase significantly over relatively smaller bases to reach $20.8 million and $8.1 million respectively over the same period.

Various technology developments are also shaping current and future business communication methods. Traditional offset printing is being displaced by technical advances, including workgroup and desktop printing, as well as alternative electronic methods. Printed products are becoming more relevant to final users with more customisation, personalisation and on-demand printing. Print buying is also changing rapidly, with e-procurement and new workflow systems reducing the cost of administering print.

According to the study, the main factors pushing print technology for business communication are: