Since the new crown pneumonia epidemic, businesses, images, publications, packaging and label printing have all faced fundamental challenges in adapting to the market space. As stated in the new Smithers report "The Future of Global Printing to 2026" (The Future of Global Printing to 2026), the positive news is that after a devastating 2020, the market will have Recovery; although this is not consistent across all market segments.
In 2021, the total value of global printing will reach 760.6 billion U.S. dollars, which is equivalent to 41.9 trillion A4 prints produced globally. This is an increase from the US$750 billion in 2020, but sales have fallen further, reducing 5.87 trillion A4 prints from 2019. This effect is most obvious in publications, some images and commercial applications. Home isolation has led to a sharp decline in the sales of magazines and newspapers, while the short-term increase in orders for education and leisure books is only partially compensated; many regular commercial printing and imaging orders have also been cancelled. Packaging and label printing are more flexible, providing a clear strategic focus for the development of the industry in the next five years.
With the stable return of the terminal application market, investment in new printing and post-press equipment will reach 15.9 billion US dollars this year.
Smithers predicts that by 2026, packaging and labeling and new demand from Asian growth economies will grow moderately-a compound annual growth rate of 1.9% (by value, at constant prices). In 2026, the total value is expected to reach 834.3 billion US dollars. Sales growth will slow down, with a compound annual growth rate of 0.7%, which will increase to 43.4 trillion A4 prints in 2026, but most of the sales lost during 2019-2020 will not be able to recover.
Responding to the rapid changes in consumer demand, while modernizing printing plants and business processes, is vital to the future success of companies at all stages of the printing supply chain. Smithers’ expert analysis identified the following major trends, which will run through 2021-2026.
In the post-epidemic era, the degree of globalization is reduced, and more local printing supply chains will be more popular. Printing buyers will reduce their reliance on a single supplier and on-time delivery models—on the contrary, demand for agile printing services that can respond quickly to changes in market conditions will increase.
The interrupted supply chain will accelerate the application of digital printing in multiple terminal applications. The market share of digital printing (in terms of value) will increase from 17.2% in 2021 to 21.6% in 2026, making it the main focus of research and development for the entire industry.
The demand for packaging and printing e-commerce will continue to increase, and brands are eager to provide improvements in experience and participation. Higher-quality digital printing will be applied to the packaging market and increase potential sources of revenue for printing service providers. This is in line with the broader industry trend of low-volume printing that is more relevant to consumers, as physical media is increasingly targeting specific market segments and even individuals.
As the world is increasingly connected electronically, printing equipment will adopt more Industry 4.0 and network printing concepts. This will improve uptime and order turnaround time, allow for better benchmarking, and allow machines to release available capacity online in real time to attract more orders.
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