2012 Hot Markets : Printing in a Mobile World
As 2012 unfolds, it will be the year of cross-media mastery—the smart management of the print-to-mobile (P2M) information chain. The imperative for printing industry companies is simple—grow laterally by enlarging their offering. Demand will grow by 4 percent or more in only nine of the top 25 hot markets for printing services. The remaining 16 will be level or reduce ink-on-paper spends, but buyers will dramatically increase their demand for front-end smart phone landings and back-end social media linkages.
In P2M, the four principal products will be smart-and-green packaging, very-large-format digital/screen printing, interactive offset/digital direct response pieces and, at the top, cross-media combinations of the foregoing, enabled by TXT messaging and QR code connections. GPS locationing and purchase/payment enablement could be added to the mix by year-end 2012.
The best market/product/geographical combinations detailed in the paragraphs that follow will ensure a comparatively Happy New Year in a deteriorating economy!
PACKAGED FOODS ($1.11T, +6 percent; with nearly $16B to print, 0 percent) will continue as the No. 1 buyer of print, but with cost restraints for the medium. De-packaging, line-choice contractions and brand consolidations will reduce overall demand for labels, flexible packaging and folding cartons. Double-digit increases in commodity ingredient costs will put pressure on food producers to starve printing prices. Expect to see more Sonoco/Tegrant-type packaging supplier consolidations as a result.
The biggest dried foods and snacks category buyer, Kraft (+17 percent), will split into two companies (snacks and groceries) in late 2012. Others, such as Fortune Brands (+9 percent) and Sara Lee (-3 percent), will do the same or sell off non-core brands, providing a blip in demand as product packaging and campaigns are reintroduced. Most other run-of-press (ROP), free-standing insert (FSI) and in-store promotional printing will have level demand. Smart packaging with nanotech features is appearing slower than anticipated as too few plants have the know-how and licenses to use these processes.
Vincent Mallardi, C.M.C. is a Certified Management Consultant in the paper, printing and converting industries, and is an adjunct professor in economics. For the complete listing of all 1,500 of the largest print buying entities, including addresses and phone numbers for all 50 states, contact him via email at email@example.com