In our blog a few weeks ago, we kicked off 2016 by looking at what we could expect from this year’s drupa. We concluded that there was great cause for optimism, given print’s ongoing resurgence as a powerful marketing and communication tool and its emergence as a creative and effective medium in new vertical markets.
This week we shine the light on a number of trends that we expect to drive the conversation in 2016.
1. Digital Printing: This once disruptive technology upstart is now a seasoned pro. The quality and speed is now there, and its short run, personalisation and on-demand attributes continue to appeal to the ‘we-want-it-now’ business and consumer markets both online and off. The latest technologies can also print on thicker media for premium products such as coffee table books and high-end stationery, as well as non-paper materials such as metal and glass. As a result, we anticipate a lot of discussion on how print service providers (PSPs) can push digital print’s potential to win business in both horizontal and vertical markets.
2. Packaging: Unlike other print markets, it’s impossible to replace packaging electronically. Consequently the market is estimated to be valued at more than $400 billion (£277 billion), representing almost 50% of the whole printing market. And it’s forecast to grow in response to the impact of digital printing technologies on the packaging supply-chain. Digital has the potential to streamline processes and create more opportunities through bespoke, short-run packaging, POS/POP displays and other promotional items. At drupa, we anticipate packaging producers to look for ways to fine-tune their operations, while some curious commercial PSPs will begin or continue to investigate packaging applications.
3. Multi-channel & cross media – There is a lot of work required by providers of solutions for multi-channel and cross media marketing to help PSPs to understand how to incorporate print into a more integrated communications approach. We fully expect leading companies in the cross media field to adopt a stronger educational and proof-of-concept approach. PSPs need to understand that simply buying and offering a solution is only the beginning and doesn’t guarantee success, and vendors will help them by talking about the need for a more strategic mind-set to deliver an ROI over the long-term.
4. Diversification – While some niche print businesses can continue to focus their energies on strengthening their position in their core market, more generalist commercial print businesses will be looking to find new areas through which to bring in new revenues. Industrial and functional print promises to be a big talking point, as PSPs look to exploit the latest technologies to explore new vertical markets such as interior décor and, of course, the seemingly endless possibilities offered by 3D printing.
All four of these trends are based around proactive business development. It’s about PSPs embracing the shifting media landscape, identifying where the opportunities are for their individual business and building on current services and infrastructure to meet current and future client needs.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think the leading trends will be in 2016 in the comments section below.