Now that it has become a bit clearer that the print industry is in fact remaining resilient against some of the more challenging obstacles that have presented themselves in the past decade, it is often helpful to understand how competing businesses are keeping up with the times. The most recent arguments regarding declining demand appeared to indicate that the print industry was far more impacted by the economic recession and traditional ebb and flow of businesses selling off than the digital revolution alone.
In fact, it has become clear that the print and digital environments so commonly embraced by businesses and consumers today are beginning to converge a bit more, with parties in each industry leveraging the advantages of tools found in the sheds of their counterparts. This is potentially the best news regarding the print industry today, as it further proves that businesses therein – as well as demand for relevant products and services – are indeed resilient to change.
Remember, one would be hard-pressed to find an industry – or even an individual company – that has not been forced to rethink its strategies and management frameworks in the past few years, as massive transformations have taken place following the fruition of myriad shifts. From younger workforce members and consumers to the rise of a new universe worth of gadgets and technologies, the print industry does not stand alone in its efforts to sustain itself in the face of disruption.
What is still to come?
Packaging Europe Magazine recently explained some of the key trends that are taking place in the packaging and print industries, affirming that sustainability, digital print and general personalization have all been major topics of discussion in this community. With respect to personalization, this is a trend that has been building for years now in other industries, as consumers and corporate purchasers become more expectant of highly tailored and targeted products and services.
According to the news provider, personalization is also beginning to play a bigger role in the strategies of printers and packaging manufacturers, many of which are working to separate their brands from the competition through more creative and unique distributions. Additionally, experts and leaders in the field do believe that printers are going to need to become more innovate with respect to digital print to capture opportunities and avoid disruptions.
"In labels and packaging the next step has got to be educating the end user, the marketers and the brand owners about what is available to them," Stuart Kellock of a European-based printing firm told Packaging Europe. "Pumping the market with presses does nothing for the innovation being applied. For me, it will be those who can apply themselves to new and innovative applications that will be the winners. Those who are merely using digital presses to produce labels that could be done using conventional, will find that the unseen costs quickly catch up with them, and that the competition very quickly becomes a bit hot to justify the expenditure. We have already seen this model play out in the commercial sheet fed world with disastrous outcomes for some of the less innovative businesses."
Finally, the source stated that sustainability is becoming one of the top pressure points facing the industry, and that companies will need to put eco-friendly initiatives in a highly visible position to continue garnering more loyal customers.
Will print industry competition rise?
All signs point to the resurgent spirit of the print industry continuing in 2015 and perhaps beyond, which will undoubtedly usher in a new era of competition for both those providing products and services and those that are using them. For example, when more businesses begin to use print items for marketing communications, saturation that makes it more difficult to separate the brand from others might become an issue.
By focusing on leveraging helpful tools such as social media and building upon sustainable initiatives for brand management, printers and their patrons will have a wealth of opportunity to excel in the coming years, especially should demand continue to rise the way it has in the past two years.