DÜSSELDORF, Germany—“Healthy, dynamic and thriving.” When it comes to print markets, there are no better terms to describe the state of the packaging industry. Revenues are up. Prices are holding steady. Utilization rates are rising. The actual number of print jobs processed is on the uptick.
Those top the list of major findings contained in drupa’s fifth Global Trends Report and they are rooted in survey responses from nearly 800 printer participants hailing from every region of the world. Specifically:
- 53 percent of printers expect economic performance to improve in 2018
- 40 percent describe the current bottom line as good
- 51 percent maintain that present financial positioning is satisfactory
- 20 percent of survey participants are flexo printers
The report, issued at the close of April, further indicates that, “Packaging is outperforming all other print segments—commercial, publishing and functional.” Plus: “North America is powering away!” drupa declares, “Packaging dwarfs commercial, publication and functional print in terms of global market sector confidence with North America ranking first among all regions in terms of competitive posture.”
Observations relevant to the packaging arena, contained in the briefing, hold that, “Demand is high. Pressure to diversify is lower than in the past. Run lengths are down and lead time is falling.”
By the Numbers
Attesting to the amazing variety in print processes deployed, drupa statisticians list sheetfed offset as being present in 65 percent of the sampled plants and digital inkjet at 24 percent; but they say that just 12 percent of packaging turnover is attributable to digital capabilities. By application, 18 percent of label printers report more than 10 percent of SKUs are digital, as do 15 percent of carton/board printers and 13 percent of flexible packaging printers.
Forecasting growth in volume, they point to 23 percent for digital toner, 12 percent for wide format, 10 percent for flexo and 10 percent for offset.
drupa’s survey reveals that capital expenditures continue to grow amongst printers. “Globally, 33 percent more printers report an increase in expenditures than a fall, with North America most positive at +51 percent and Australia/Oceania the lowest region at +18 percent.” Analysts note, “Not surprisingly, packaging printers report the biggest positive net balance at +45 percent, functional at +42 percent, commercial at +30 percent and publishing at +20 percent.”
Other significant findings relative to capital expenditure plans in the packaging sector included these points:
- Finishing is the most popular focus for investment for the second year running, followed by print technology and then prepress/workflow/MIS
- Plans for print investment in 2018 depend on the market sector, with flexo the most popular choice in packaging, followed by sheetfed offset