the digital wave of technological advancement has swept over most of the globe, creating a new world of communication platforms and business tactics. In many cases, traditional practices have been swept aside in favor of modernity.
Despite the odds stacked against it and the constant threat of new technologies that aim to eradicate it, the international print market has remained relatively stable in the wake of perpetual development.
The power of print is driving UK industrial sector growth
PrintWeek reported that, according to the Office of National Statistics, overall industrial output in the United Kingdom grew in the early part of 2015, seeing an increase of 0.1 percent in February and 0.5 percent in March. The ONS also found that numbers within the print industry were very positive, indicating that they have helped to spur growth in the industrial sector.
The source noted that ONS statistics showed an increase in the Print and Reproduction of Recorded Media category, which accounts for the majority of the print sector's output, of 3.2 percent from February to March, and a uptick of 4 percent between Q1 of 2014 and 2015.
Likewise, Manufacture of Paper and Paper Products also saw growth. While this category experienced a 3.3 percent decrease between February and March – which can largely be attributed to the annual spike in Valentine's Day cards and other products – it also grew 2.2 percent between Q4 2014 and Q1 2015, and had an increase of 5.1 percent from Q1 2014. Wood and paper products and printing also saw an annual increase, up 3.8 percent from March 2014.
Print remains strong in South Africa
According to News24, print is particularly strong in South Africa when compared to the rest of the continent. Though concerns have been voiced over its durability in the face of the digital revolution, the statistics show that it is not particularly at risk of being overrun by electronic alternatives.
The source cited Canon South Africa's Market Insight Report, published in July 2014, which found significant support for print products and services throughout the nation. Almost all of the respondents, 92 percent, agreed professional printing is still crucial to business, while 87 percent expressed optimism that the use of print is set to expand. In addition, 68 percent of those surveyed stated that they believed print would remain just as important as they currently view it over the next five years.
Another indication of the industry's success in South Africa is the disparity in sales between print and digital copies of daily newspapers. Between April and June 2014, over 1.2 million hard copies were sold, compared to just 6,250 online editions. While the source remarked that the country is one of the world's foremost users of the Internet on mobile devices and has one of the highest percentages of app downloads, this popularity and widespread usage has not lead to an abandonment of traditional print materials.
News24 noted that these figures are in line with the evaluations of various experts who have suggested that print has survived the digital onslaught, and is primed to remain stable going forward. However, the source noted that, despite its current success, the medium will need to evolve and adapt in the next several years in order to best compete with electronic alternatives and make a case for its own importance.
The print industry has apparently survived the first wave of the digital revolution, and seems to have stabilized, especially in foreign markets. As sales grow and international popularity of the medium remains steady, there is no reason to think that print is under any real duress from the many electronic alternatives that were supposed to eradicate it entirely.