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 the chairman of the Printing Brokerage/Buyers Association International (PBBA) and is a Certified Management Consultant in the paper, printing and converting industries. He is also an adjunct professor in economics. Contact him via email at email@example.com