Review of 2017: Future of print is still, print ...

Ramu Ramanathan, editor of PrintWeek India highlights the all the happenings in the printing and packaging segment from the year 2017

11 Dec 2017 | By Ramu Ramanathan

Happy new year. The print industry has encountered many adversities through the ages. Demonetisation which was announced on 8 November causes massive panic. Many print CEOs decided to err on the side of the caution and the market was quiet. In fact very quiet. This, plus GST in the pipeline was keeping many printers (and their accounts department) on their toes. Returns on jobs were extracted with difficulty for both big and small players; everyone was jittery and seeking profits. But where is the profit was the chant?
PrintPack in Noida boosted the economy. With 428 exhibitors at the show, by the end of day five, PrintPack 2017 registered a total of 75,000 unique visitors. The next edition of PrintPack in 2019 is expected to be bigger and better.
MARCH 2017
Team visits factories and trade shows. Print and packaging shifts more and more towards non-paper products — printing on plastic, board, textiles, glass, metal, and even eco-friendly substrates like the corrugated board.
APRIL 2017
Where is the money? Where is the money? Asked everyone. Someone says it is in the ever booming stock market. So PrintWeek India looked at key IPO markets in India. The results was interesting. Among the top five IPO (retail and HN1 markets): Mumbai enjoys a 31.74% share. Ahmedabad is 24.57%; Rajkot is 7.10%; Jaipur is 6.86%; New Delhi is 4.93%. The rest of the five slots are dominated by four cities in Gujarat and Kolkata. That's where the money is.    
MAY 2017
The entries start trickling in for the PrintWeek India Awards. The writing is on the wall. Customers no longer saw value in printed sheets alone, they are prepared to pay a premium for quality finishing. Firms are charging for pre-press and value-added embellishments offer superior margins.
JUNE 2017
Most print firms are typically slow to take advantage of the opportunities of new technology. And unfortunately, there are no easy answers because one cannot determine where the market is going, especially since print buying habits are not constant. The key among the successful companies in order to guarantee a prosperous future is in "finding a place where there's no other competitor".
JULY 2017
GST is here. Panic in the ranks. The next six months look turbulent. Fasten your seat belts.
Print continues to grow in India. Newspapers, in spite of all the sob stories see more and more readers invest in Rs 1800 per annum for their daily fix. 42 "new" cities in India see a newspaper boom. This is in addition to the 52 cities which are at the heart of the FMCG and white goods consumption. Dainik Bhaskar with 66 editions is a case in point. A PrintWeek India award winner, it is the fourth largest newspaper in the world, and growing and growing.
Print journalist Gauri Lankesh shot dead. Train derailments. First woman defence minister. Hundred-plus amendments to GST. Therefore the confusion is twice confounded. The PrintWeek India team at Labelexpo in Brussels. The Landa show at Israel. KBA celebrates 200 years. Uflex factory in Poland. My colleague, Rahul Kumar gets me poems from Krakow. 
23 October. Telgi is no more. India sees seizures of counterfeit currency notes of Rs 2,000. There is 25% of fake pharma products available in the market. No lessons learnt? Telgi RIP.
The World Food Show in Delhi is huge. Food services emerge as a key segment of Indian economy. The Indian food services market in India (organised and unorganised) is estimated at Rs 3,37,500-crore in 2017 – and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10% over the next five years to reach Rs 5,52,000-crore by 2022. How is print and packaging readying for this challenge? Does the industry have a plan?
Pharma shows. Retail shows. 3D shows. A thousand shows bloom, as the year hurtles to a close.