There has been no shortage of hand-wringing regarding the print industry in recent years. In fact, claims that the print industry was dying or already dead stretch back well over a decade. Seemingly every evolution in the realm of digital solutions, be it the rise of email or the growing popularity of smartphones, seems to give cause to renewed exclamations that the print sector as a whole is irrevocably on a decline.

But such declarations are no more true today than they have been in years past. The print industry is indeed changing and evolving, but it is not by any means disappearing.

There's a great deal of evidence to back up this claim. Notably, a number of recent studies and developments have demonstrated that the managed print services market is growing or expanding in a number of regions around the world. 

MPS around the globe
Most notably, a report from TechNavio found that the global managed print services market is poised for major, sustained growth in the coming years. Specifically, the world-wide MPS market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 10 percent from 2014 through 2019. 

One of the major reasons why this market is growing at such a rate is due to the increasing importance of green business strategies, the report stated. Many company leaders are coming to appreciate that eco-friendly MPS-focused strategies can have a positive impact on the environment, helping firms decrease their carbon footprints. 

At the same time, MPS can help to reduce the cost of total ownership for organizations, according to the study. Considering the increasingly competitive nature of just about every market around the world, any strategy that can reduce expenses is obviously going to prove appealing to business decision-makers. 

Document security is another key factor in the MPS market's continued growth. The study found that companies around the world are increasingly concerned with keeping their information safe from external and internal threats, and insecure printing policies can undermine such efforts. A trusted MPS solution, on the other hand, offers a level of support and security throughout the printing chain that can significantly cut down on the threat of data breaches. 

MPS in Japan
Zooming in, one of the fastest growing MPS markets can be found in Japan, as a separate TechNavio study revealed. This report found that between 2014 and 2019 the Japanese MPS market will likely experience a compound annual growth rate of approximately 15.5 percent. 

There are a number of factors driving this growth, according to the study. For one thing, Japanese companies are looking to gain greater visibility into their document management workflow and related operations. They are also looking to improve efficiency and productivity.

Additionally, the report noted that MPS is still relatively new to Japan. As such, there is still significant room for growth in this region. Furthermore, because of the lack of familiarity with MPS, many firms are not currently aware of MPS or of the best practices in this area. This means that as the technology and its inherent advantages become better understood, growth may even continue to accelerate in the future.

MPS for SMBs
​Another key piece of evidence for printing's continued prevalence is the increasing consensus that MPS are ideal for not just large enterprises, but also small to mid-sized businesses, as Channel Pro contributor Martin Fairman recently highlighted. The writer pointed to a 2014 study from Quocirca which found that while half of large businesses leveraged managed print services in some capacity, only about 20 percent of smaller firms had taken this step. However, Fairman argued that this is likely to change as SMBs learn more about MPS benefits.

"Industry reports have shown that 75 percent of

[SMBs] rely on printing to support their most important business activities," Fairman wrote. "Yet do-it-yourself print management results in enterprises spending far too much time and money on everything from restocking the correct supplies at the right time, to predicting and managing printing costs to addressing the inevitable services and maintenance of print services. These are resources that could be used elsewhere, helping smaller enterprises to grow."

Fairman went on to note that many SMB decision-makers are operating under the impression that MPS use would lead to higher operating costs, even though the opposite will be true in many cases. Consequently, the writer emphasized that education will be key for greater MPS success among SMBs in the coming years. 

Such progress will also depend on MPS firms taking the initiative and developing offerings that specifically cater to SMB customers' unique needs. With a customized solution, SMB decision-makers will be far more likely to recognize the value that managed printing services have to offer, and will help contribute to the growing global MPS market.