Half of printers optimistic for future

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One in every two printers believes their business will fare better once Covid ends than in the period before it began, according to the latest print industry survey by Ascent Partners.

Optimism for future: Half of printers
Optimism for future: Half of printers

Almost half of all local printers saw sales decline by at least 30 per cent in the six months to September, although a minority saw sales rise in the Covid period. A quarter believe the next six months will be even better than last year.

According to the latest survey by Ascent, some 29 per cent of printers saw sales decrease by between 30 and 50 per cent, while 6 per cent had sales down by between 50 and 70 per cent and eight per cent by more than 70 per cent.

In addition, a full third of all Aussie and Kiwi printers saw sales fall by between 10 and 30 per cent. However, 11 per cent of printers achieved a rise in sales of ten per cent or more.

Printers are somewhat pessimistic about the next six months, although they do not believe the fall in sales will be as steep as the previous six, with almost a quarter, 23 per cent, sales will be greater than they achieved in the same period last year. No-one is predicting a drop of more than 70 per cent, six per cent are predicting sales down by more than half, with 55 per cent predicting their numbers will come in worse than last time.

For the year April 2021 to March 2022 printers are more optimistic and are evenly split 50/50 between those that believe they will be making more in the year than they were prior to Covid, and those that forecast they will still be making less.

Some 42 per cent of printers expect to use the Instant Asset Write off and/or The JobMaker hiring credit for the hiring of fewer than 35 employees.

While the survey showed that 64 per cent of businesses in the industry are currently on JobKeeper, over the next six months that figure is forecast to reduce to 18 per cent – meaning 82 per cent of printers see sales falling less than 30 per cent compared to pre-Covid in that period.

When it comes to the pathway ahead almost two thirds, 62 per cent, are forecasting to trade on, while 11 per cent are looking to acquire, eight per cent want to downsize, 10 per cent are looking to merge, amalgamate, or collaborate with others.

Only two per cent want to sell or close the business, with another two per cent forecasting they will go through the new Chapter 11 style insolvency route. Some eight percent are planning on changing by other means.

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