Industry Insights Survey 2021
The survey highlights the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic for printers, publishers, mail houses and distributors

The Real Media Collective has released its Industry Insights Survey 2021 to members.

The survey highlights the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic for printers, publishers, mail houses and distributors. It reports a 37.2 per cent downturn for New Zealand businesses. The pandemic saw 70 per cent of companies reduce their hours. The period saw 16.7 per cent of the industry’s workforce made redundant.

Across the Tasman, over 90 per cent of Australian businesses report a significant impact with an average 55 per cent downturn and 72 per cent having exposure to debtor related issues.

Kellie Northwood, chief executive officer of The Real Media Collective, says, “We know what we all endured last year and what we are still recovering from. This pandemic has hit the manufacturing sectors incredibly hard; none more so than the print and related industries. Furthermore, as a low margin to output ratio, our recovery is delayed by the recovery of our customers compared against high-margin industries. As industries such as Tourism, Retail and Hospitality recover our sector recovers slowly behind.”

Kellie Northwood

New Zealand has remained relatively stable across light weight coated, super-calendered and wood-free coated reels. However, wood-free coated sheets appear to have had the highest volume decline. The total Australian marketing of fine paper imports and locally produced grades reduced by 159,258 tones between 2013 and 2019 as an average across all grades. However, most notably to the pandemic, the previous year realised a decrease of 160,000 tons and throughout Covid-19 pandemic windows, a stall in graphic paper grades.

Northwood says, “Through engagement with our members we noted many printers utilised house or floor stock within their factories to reduce inventory and manage slowed supply chains as operational uncertainty and future planning was unclear. This halted orders and has impacted the import figures dramatically.”

Industry Insights Survey 2021 shows slow recovery

Future projections indicate a slow recovery from March. The Real Media Collective is monitoring the current pulp price increases, delayed shipping pressures of paper and ink supplies and providing insight papers for members to manage their supply chain solutions.

In Australia, The Real Media Collective announced its campaign association with the Australian Made organisation last year. The organisations want the Australian government to move offshored print to local markets. An analysis conducted by TRMC indicates the government is responsible for A$50m to A$80m of offshored print work. They have written to all federal, state and local governments. They have highlighted the industry’s need to have this work redirected to local manufacturing. Ministers and elected officials have welcomed the initial feedback.

Northwood adds, “We have been pleased with the government responses confirming their policies and amended practices. They want to learn about the environmental credibility of paper and print because many were unaware of this message. It has been a strong educational journey as well as an opportunity to present the importance of local manufacture. We are now preparing to review the opportunity through Freedom of Information channels. This is on the procurement practices. We will look to print management models that do not point to local manufacture as a critical KPI in contracts.”

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