Drupa report: recovery expected to start in 2023

Jo Francis
Friday, September 30, 2022

Drupa has published its Eighth Global Trends Report after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic.

Report looked at investment plans by market
Report looked at investment plans by market

The report tapped into the views of more than 500 panel members made up of senior decision makers at printers and suppliers. This was a lower number of participants than the previous survey carried out in 2019 because a fresh panel could not be convened at Drupa 2020. 

A virtual Drupa event was held last year instead, with the physical show skipping a cycle to return in 2024. 

The report covers a number of topics including trends over time, financial performance, and investment plans. 

When the series started in 2014, “little attention was given to issues beyond the print market itself”, Drupa noted, and things have certainly changed since then. 

“The Covid pandemic, global supply chain challenges, physical wars – eg in Ukraine and the Middle East and trade wars eg US and China and Brexit: have all had a severe impact on printers and suppliers,” the report stated. 

While investment fell inevitably during the past two years, printers and suppliers both reported robust plans for capital expenditure. 

Sabine Geldermann, director of 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.”

Drupa said the packaging market was “thriving” with publishing and commercial printers “facing structural changes from digitisation but with signs of confidence returning”. 

The proportion of work won via web-to-print “has shot up for those with such installations”. 

“Globally, since 2019 there has been an increase from 17% of turnover to 26% and this major increase is reflected to varying degrees across all markets.”

In terms of the impact of socio-economic threats, globally 52% of respondents highlighted the impact of pandemics either directly or on the economy and 42% chose ‘economic recession’ in their country or region. 

However there were some noticeable regional variations. 

“For example, 62% of Asian printers chose pandemic impact versus 52% globally; 58% of South/Central American printers chose economic recession versus 42% globally; and 32% of European printers chose regional physical wars versus 21% globally.”

The report also talks about the impact of supply shocks to the global economy and on numerous industries including printing. 

“In the print industry raw materials like paper and consumables have been in short supply with unprecedented price hikes. This has also been exacerbated by industrial action in the paper supply chain.”

Despite the economic shocks, Drupa said that the survey shows that print remained a central means of communication in all markets and regions “and that while there are challenging times ahead, the industry has both the confidence and the determination to succeed”. 

“Wise strategic investment will ensure that printers and their suppliers will thrive.”

The report was put together by Printfuture (UK) and Wissler & Partner (Switzerland) on behalf of Drupa organiser Messe Düsseldorf.

The full report costs €499 (£440) and is available in seven languages. A free executive summary is also downloadable.

The next Drupa takes place from 28 May - 7 June 2024, at Messe Düsseldorf in Germany. The registration deadline for firms intending to exhibit is just a month away: 31 October 2022.

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