Although the global print market continues to shrink in volume, its value will grow over the period 2014–24, according to research specialist Smithers.
The growth in value will come as a result of changes in the product mix and the print processes employed. The latest market report from Smithers, The Future of Digital vs Offset Printing to 2024, shows the global output, measured in billions of A4 prints at 49,665 in 2019, will remain static through to 2024. However, in value terms, print output grows from US$808.3bn ($1265bn) in 2019 to US$862.7bn in 2024.
The report sees digital print, especially inkjet, as an increasingly important and valuable part of the overall print market. Accounting for 13.5 per cent of total market output in 2014, this has risen to 17.4 per cent in 2019. As it has done so it has displaced and taken work from offset litho and other existing analogue print process.
Technical innovations and shift in market demands will further support this trend through to 2024, pushing digital’s share to 21.1 per cent. This will see digital colonise new spaces in key markets, such as packaging; increase its competitiveness at longer runs with a new generation of high throughput machinery; and offer new revenue streams for print service providers.
Both analogue and digital print production have become more efficient, which contributes to improving unit costs. In addition, increasing capabilities in short run printing and associated downstream converting processes lead to improved supply chain efficiencies in which print production closely matches demand.
Smithers says many different factors shape demand across the print industry, and print supply chain participants have a variety of options to draw on when determining how best to meet changing demand patterns.
The role of print is changing, with the main dynamic the impact of the Internet and mobile connectivity in the way businesses and individuals communicate and access information. This affects every segment of the traditional printing business and changes expectations of what they will accept in relation to speed, relevance and degree of interactivity of information, irrespective of the medium used.
The report covers the key drivers affecting demand for offset litho and digital, highlighted below, in greater detail:
- Rising global consumption through a combination of population growth, increased urbanisation and the rise of a global middle class with discretionary spending power
- Fundamental changes in the way consumers and businesses disseminate and access information – and the channels used by advertisers – from print to electronic media
- Increasingly agile supply chains with on-demand and just-in-time models adopted across print markets
- Consumers, businesses, brands and governments demand products and production technologies with improved sustainability and environmental profiles
- Growing use of artificial intelligence, big data, Internet of Things and other Industry 4.0 technologies to enhance the productivity of print processes.
The Future of Digital vs Offset Printing to 2024 is available to purchase now.