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Global print trade fair drupa has released its eighth Global Trends Report, which reveals how the print sectors are evolving and how print businesses feel about the future.

Analysis of print volume in 2022 by press type, shows continuing decline in sheetfed offset among commercial printers, but this is matched by increases among packaging printers. Flexo volumes continue to accelerate for packaging printers, while all markets reported increased volumes using digital toner cutsheet colour, and all but publishing with digital inkjet rollfed colour.

However despite the decline in the volume of sheetfed offset in commercial markets, this was the most popular press type for investment in 2023 across all markets, except packaging, where flexo led, followed bysheetfed offset. Digital toner cutsheet colour was the second most popular target for all other markets. Finishing equipment is the second most popular target for investment after new presses.

While there was virtually no increase in the proportion of turnover won by Web-to-Print systems between 2014 and 2019, over the last two years the proportion won by that means has shot up for those with such installations. Globally, since 2019 the market has risen by half, there has been an increase from 17 per cent of turnover to 26 per cent, and this major increase is reflected to varying degrees across all markets.

The results from the survey show an industry that is on average across the globe a little more confident for the future than when last surveyed in 2019, before the pandemic. The packaging market is strongest, but commercial, publishing and functional markets all show signs of recovery in 2023.

Investment fell inevitably during the last two years, but printers and suppliers both reported strong plans for capital expenditure. Sabine Geldermann, director Print Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf, commented, “Printers and Suppliers know they must innovate to succeed in the longer term. The shocks of the last two years pegged back investment, but the survey indicates that the industry expects recovery to start in 2023. All regions and markets forecast higher investment in the coming year.”

Globally 18% more printers described their company’s economic condition as ‘good’ compared with those that reported it as ‘poor’. For suppliers the net positive balance was even stronger at 32%. As always, confidence varies between regions and markets. The Packaging market is thriving with Publishing and Commercial facing structural changes from digitisation but with signs of confidence returning. Regionally the picture is mixed with Europe clearly concerned about the consequences of the Russia/Ukraine war but others e.g., Asia and South/Central America, expect trade to pick up further in 2023 as economic momentum builds post pandemic.

The findings come from the 8th Global Trends online survey, when over 500 senior decision makers on the part of print service providers and machine manufacturers/suppliers worldwide completed an extended survey in spring 2022. The survey was conducted by the commissioned partners Printfuture (UK) and Wissler & Partner (Switzerland) on behalf of drupa.

Trade fair drupa has been surveying international print service providers and suppliers since 2013 in order to shed light on industry and global megatrends, market potential and innovations in all key areas of the print industry.

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