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Print industry faces new challenges, opportunities

DUBAI, September 3, 2014

Print service providers and the supplier industry, and their customers are being compelled to deal with new challenges and opportunities, said a recent study.

The first results of the “drupa Global Insights” report on “The Impact of the Internet on Print – The digital flood” pointed out 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 on most areas of the printing industry.

Werner M Dornscheidt, president and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, said: “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 taken by printers and suppliers alike.”

The rise of e-commerce

E-commerce is growing in most global regions at rapid rates and printers are having to play catch-up, for while 51 per cent of the survey panel had web-to-print services, only 14 per cent reported it transacted more than 25 per cent of their orders.

In the catalogue market, however, publishers understand that print catalogues drive on-line sales and a majority of 60 per cent of catalogue printers reported growth in on-demand digital production.

The shift to mass customisation

The customised large-scale production of digital print articles is catching on, whether it is photo books, calendars, stationery, marketing articles or T- shirts, in small or large volumes.

About 72 per cent of all questioned commercial printers worldwide offer variable data printing services; in the US its proportion is even higher (87 per cent), said the report.

While the proportion of variable pages remains small, 56 per cent 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 personalised. These trends were confirmed by the “drupa Global Trends” report published recently: 38 per cent of commercial printers and 32 per cent of publishing printers expressed their intention to invest in digital electrophotographic colour sheet printers.

Interactive printing on the increase

Interactivity is the watchword as print customers are realising the power of communicating via the Internet and mobile technologies directly with their target audiences on a one-to-one basis.

Cross-media campaigns, with data acquisition and analysis, and the use of several channels, 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 panel of experts already offers interactive print of one form or another, said the report. It includes interactive response elements in publications, business communications, advertisements, packaging and outdoor advertisements.

The survey also death with many other issues such as customer relationship management (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 digitisation of communications is affecting the demand for conventional print and the demand for different print substrates.

Printers need to accept the reality of an Internet-driven multi-channel digital future, change their approach and invest accordingly, it concluded. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Internet | industry | opportunities | challenges | Print |

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