Fespa reveals Print Census findings

Fespa has published the headline findings of its 2023 Print Census, which highlight the impact of rising sustainability demands and evolving customer requirements on business models and investment plans.

25 Oct 2023 | By PrintWeek Team

71% of respondents are optimistic about the future of their business

This year’s Census was conducted in partnership with InfoTrends, a division of Keypoint Intelligence. It further explored the long-term trends that emerged from the analysis of the 2018 Print Census, including revenue and industry outlook, the rise of environmental pressures, changing customer demands, future investment and purchasing plans, and business models and strategies.

1,778 printers and signmakers from over 120 countries participated in the survey, representing a 26.5% increase from the last Print Census published in May 2018. Respondents defined their business focus as graphics (61%), signage (26%), textile (24%), and industrial (14%).

The survey found that the market outlook remains positive in line with the results from 2018, with 71% of respondents stating that they are optimistic about the future of their business, despite the economic challenges of the past five years.

The data also further highlighted that the industry is adapting to the changing landscape and finding new opportunities for growth.

In accordance with this, respondents reported a 7% average revenue increase since the 2018 Census. In 2018, the mean annual revenue was reported as €4.4m (£3.8m), compared with a mean annual revenue of €4.7m in 2023.

The Census also reaffirmed that the pressure on printers and signmakers to be more sustainable continues to rise, with 72% of print buyers requesting environmentally friendly products and practices.

25% of respondents said their customers cared most about sustainable products while 12% identified a focus on sustainable manufacturing, however, a bigger percentage (36%) reported that their customers cared about both.

While the perceived cost increases are often a barrier to sustainable production, 70% of respondents shared that they could address sustainability demands without raising their prices and a further 22% said that they had already raised pricing without impact on sales.

Furthermore, the Census found that the industry is being shaped by changing customer requirements. 67% of responses showed an increase in the demand for faster turnaround, 58% noted a rise in requests for shorter runs, and 56% highlighted the upsurge in interest for more versioning and personalisation, while only 38% noted an increase in the demand for more complex logistic requirements.

The survey also highlighted that printers are interested in investing in technology that can streamline production and provide greater application flexibility.

For the respondents who own screen printing and wide-format equipment, UV-curable inkjet (27%), eco-solvent inkjet (18%), and CNC finishing (17%) are the highest priority for their purchasing plans.

On the rationale behind planned technological investments, 55% said they want to enter new markets and expand their service and application offerings, 53% are focused on enhancing print quality, and 52% are looking to reduce the unit cost.

Fespa head of associations and technical lead Graeme Richardson-Locke said: “It’s a really positive result to see our community so optimistic not only about the future of our industry, but also about the growth potential of their businesses.

“The survey once again cemented that one of the key challenges printers and signmakers are currently facing are the ever-changing customer demands and the growing need for sustainable solutions.

“Thanks to the responses from our community, we can now develop and evolve our offering to tailor it, but above all, we hope that the Census findings will help our community to benchmark themselves against similar businesses globally, and to make informed choices for their future.”

(Source: PrintWeek.com)

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