With the ever-growing reliance and prominence of digital technology and the online world, plus with continuous evolution of technology itself, the question that arises here is whether or not the print industry is even needed anymore?
With many traditional print forms having a digital counterpart – e-books, online newspapers, online magazines, and so on – it appears that digital print is a rising force that may eventually overpower material print.
Nonetheless, this is not to say that the print industry is obsolete. On the contrary, it appears that the printing industry is still in full force as it was a year ago, and as it is today in 2023. So, without further ado, let’s jump into what’s in store for the print industry this year.
A Look Back at the Print Industry in Previous Years
Firstly, let’s take a quick look at the print industry in the past few years. Although digital books, magazines, and newspapers are certainly popular themselves, print media was still prevalent in the past few years.
In particular, a 2021 report by the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF) found that printed packaging accounted for 25% of the turnover share by product sector, followed by advertising and business materials at 24%, and books, magazines and newspapers at 22%.
This report showed that print is still useful in a variety of applications, whether that’s for packaging boxes or booklet printing, print is still an effective tool for both internal and external business use.
In fact, it was forecasted that the global printing industry would reach $821 billion by 2022, a growth driven by packaging and labels. Thus, despite the success of their digital equivalents, print will continue to stay relevant (for now), especially due to its usage in the packaging sector.
On the other hand, can the same still be said about the printing industry in 2023?
Print Industry Trends for 2023
When it comes to printing industry trends, it should be noted that print is constantly evolving as technology advances. The process of printing today is much different than how it would have been a decade or two ago.
In addition to this, the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the world disrupted numerous industries, including the printing industry. As a result, there’s no doubt that commercial printing trends in 2023 have been influenced by the pandemic itself.
Furthermore, other factors that continue to shape the printing industry include things such as growing tensions about climate change and how businesses can mitigate their environmental impact, as well as the cost-of-living crisis that is also disrupting industries globally.
As you can see, there are many aspects that may affect printing industry trends and their nonstop changes, which brings us to the next part - what exactly are the printing industry trends that we’ll be seeing this year?
First of all, digitisation initiatives emerging from the pressures of the pandemic will surely be at the forefront of 2023 commercial printing trends. The pandemic and its lockdowns saw some businesses having to reconstruct business operations to adapt to a digital landscape, particularly making processes more efficient possibly due to less staff.
In 2023, digitisation will be championed in the print industry, and you’ll find the use of softwares and applications to improve workflow efficiencies, optimising overall operations from start to finish. Processes will be automated, removing the need for manual entry, offering a streamlined and more effective workflow experience.
This can help reduce business costs, minimising mistakes and even lowering carbon emissions as a result of less waste. For businesses looking to lower their environmental impact, turning to print finishing solutions that can help improve accuracy and expedite turnover will certainly contribute to this.
Print Advertising Still Going Strong
In 2023, print advertising is still alive and thriving, and justifiably so since print ads do tend to deliver impressive results. It’s been found that the recall rate for ads in print news brands is 1.7x higher than for ads in digital news – 77% for print vs 46% for digital. This indicates that brand recall is significantly stronger in print than it is in digital, meaning that print is thus far a potentially lucrative avenue for advertising.
In a society where advertising dominates almost every corner of social spaces, it’s not surprising that print advertising is a trend that will be staying in 2023. As such, printing businesses may be investing in solutions that produce advertising and marketing materials at a time effective rate like Duplo’s direct marketing collation systems.
With these systems, not only are you able to mass produce a wide variety of advertising leaflets and brochures with increased targeting, but these are also made ready for distribution. This helps fuel the print advertising sector, proving that it’s a trend that won’t be leaving anytime soon.
Innovative Technologies Powering the Print Industry
It goes without saying that with the emergence of innovative technologies, including automation machines and softwares, the number of print specialist workers may also fall. After all, who needs specialist workers when you have a machine that can do it for you?
For example, cutting, creasing, and perforating documents has never been easier than with a machine that can do all of that, reducing waste and errors. In terms of commercial printing, such machines can offer time and cost effective solutions for businesses, which is why businesses are turning to these new printing technologies instead of relying on manual labour.
Despite the fact that this also leads to a reduction in workers with specialist skills in the printing industry, the advancements of technology are pushing out manual labour regardless, and bringing forth different jobs that people could undertake.
For the print industry in 2023, these innovations are powering the very industry itself – an industry that struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic and was rejuvenated due to the introduction of such technologies.
The Influence of the Cost-of-Living Crisis
Of course, similar to how the pandemic has shaped the global business climate, the current cost-of-living crisis that has followed businesses into 2023 is also affecting the printing industry.
Soaring inflation rates and energy costs are some of the challenges faced by everyone today, and the same is said for the printing industry. So, how are printing businesses combating the economic crisis?
Whilst reducing staff, thus saving more money to go into paying for electricity, is definitely one way to go about it, there are also other ways that should be considered when it comes to battling the cost-of-living crisis in the print industry.
One way that this will be seen in 2023 is through the investment of print finishing machinery and solutions that lower operational costs without compromising quality and functionality. These are products that have multiple functions and features, eliminating the need of buying numerous machines for one function.
Additionally, sustainability may also forefront the print industry in 2023 – aside from the obvious reduction in paper waste, machines or printers that consume less energy will be popular as this will help to reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint, as well as its energy bills.
As mentioned previously, printed packaging is crucial for the growth of the print industry, and by 2030, this will account for almost ⅔ of the print market worldwide. The packaging sector is a gold mine for printing businesses, so it’s no wonder that printed packaging, including labels on packaging boxes and others, will lead the printing industry trends of 2023.
Consumers are happily shopping online, even amidst the cost-of-living crisis, therefore, print packaging is as relevant as ever. Although things such as business cards, leaflets or pamphlets, or other marketing materials may become digitalised in the near future, a future without packaging may be decades to a century away. This means that print still has an important part to play for years to come.
The Future of the Print Industry
The future of the print industry is one that we can’t say for certain – with constant changes and other factors potentially affecting the industry, who’s to say what the future of the print industry will be?
We can say with certainty, however, that the print industry in 2023 is one that embodies innovation and digital transformation. Particularly, the adoption of machines and softwares that automate processes will be a prominent aspect of the printing industry in 2023.
To better prepare themselves against any future blights similar to the pandemic or the economic turbulence, businesses in the print industry need to find ways to future-proof their business and its operations.
Without a doubt, both print and digital channels should, and most likely will be used to maximise business profits and productivity. Nevertheless, the printing industry is not dead, and may possibly never be in the foreseeable future.
At Duplo International, we improve business efficiency by automating print finishing processes with Duplo International. Get in touch with us if you have any further questions or enquiries about our products.