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FESPA Print Census reveals optimism and growth

FESPA Print Census reveals optimism and growth

The findings of FESPA’s Print Census – the most far-reaching global industry survey ever conducted by the association – expose six overarching trends driving the global wide format and speciality print community.

Over 1200 respondents worldwide fully completed the extensive survey between May 2014 and April 2015, with 50 percent of respondents coming from the Americas, 42 percentfrom Europe and 8 percent from the Asia Pacific region.

Respondents represent the full spectrum of print businesses, including screen and digital printers (34 percent); commercial, quick printers and reprographic shops (15 percent); signmakers (13 percent); graphic designers (seven percent); advertising agencies (five percent); and others.

New to this survey were Industrial manufacturers that made up 8 percent of respondents, representing an emerging community of digital print users.

The survey, part of an ongoing collaboration between InfoTrends and FESPA, discovered that the key trend is optimism from business owners with  80 percent  of respondents claiming to feel very optimistic or fairly optimistic for their businesses.

This exceeds their optimism for the industry as a whole by 14 percent, indicating that respondents feel confident in their own business growth strategies, while remaining less sure of the industry’s broader ability to evolve.

That individual optimism is founded on commercial success. Looking at responses from developed markets, average revenues have more than doubled over the same period, from three million Euro in 2007 to over 6.25 million Euro in 2015. Overall revenue growth from 2007 to 2015 was about  nine percent CAGR for the overall business, and seven percent for digital wide format.

The survey also found that customer demands are driving continued efforts to improve efficiency, enabling faster job turnaround, just-in-time delivery, delivery to the point of need, and versioning/personalisation.

At least 70 percent of respondents expect these four key customer trends to increase or stay the same, thus reinforcing the notion that today’s print businesses are now customer-service driven.

In addition, adoption of digital processes,  including production systems, workflow, automation and web-to-print,  is motivated by these expectations.

Banners (49 percent), posters (40 percent), signs (38 percent) and billboards (37 percent) remain the top four products being produced by respondents.

However, most respondents have also seen dramatic growth in the demand for textiles for garments and textiles for décor and packaging samples, with close to 80 percent of respondents reporting an increase in demand for these applications.

Respondents report increased adoption of digital production for many of these products, with garments, decals and printed electronics most frequently predicted to migrate to digital in the future.

The changing applications mix is also reflected in the rise of rigid materials, which now represent 25 percent of output among respondents.

Over half of all FESPA Print Census respondents indicated their intention to buy digital wide format printing equipment, with a mean spending plan of close to 100,000 Euro.

Such purchasing plans are dominated by UV printers (27 percent), textile printers (21 percent), solvent printers (17 percent), eco-solvent printers (16 percent) and latex printers (14 percent) while contour cutters and laminators toppe respondents’ planned acquisition lists  in the area of finishing.

The majority of those investing (45 percent) are motivated to do so by the move into new markets with new products or services.

Investment is also driven by the desire to enhance print quality (43 percent), increase capacity (37 percent), improve output speed (34 percent) and reduce unit costs (33 percent).

As identified above, textile is the dominant growth application among Print Census respondents, with 27 percent already involved in garment printing and 81 percent seeing growth in this segment, the highest of any growth application. Digital is a key enabler here, with over half of respondents expecting digitally produced garments to become an important alternative to traditional screenprinting in the next two years.

Textile printers feature prominently among investment plans, with 21 percent of respondents specifically focussing spend in this area, supported by 12 percent planning to acquire thermal transfer equipment. Decorative and industrial textile applications also feature heavily, with 78 percent of those surveyed reporting growth in textiles for décor applications. Textile substrates continue to make inroads in the signage and graphics space, with 67 percent observing sustained growth in soft signage.

More than three quarters of respondents expect live media and LCD screen advertising to impact the wide format business in the foreseeable future, with 36 percent of respondents stating that these technologies are already impacting the business.

Indeed, 31 percent  of those surveyed are planning to offer digital signage solutions to their customer base within the next 12 months.

FESPA CEO Neil Felton commented: “The FESPA Print Census paints a picture of an energised community in which business leaders have a clear and positive vision of the future and are reaping the commercial rewards. Despite a mixed macro-economic picture globally, printers across continents are responding to clients’ changing needs, diversifying their product offering, making calculated technology investments with a focus on efficiency and mass customisation, and embracing the changing role of print in the communications mix.”

For further information about how to access FESPA association membership in order to receive a copy of the full FESPA Print Census research paper, contact info@fespa.com.

An executive summary of the results will be made available for download from www.fespa.com.

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