Technology developments and diversification opportunities spur on industry optimism

by FESPA | 17/10/2018
Technology developments and diversification opportunities spur on industry optimism

FESPA’s Executive Director, Sean Holt discusses the rise in optimism in the global speciality print community and the constant development in machinery, consumables and media.

In the current economic climate it is encouraging to see businesses and individuals feeling positive about the industry. 83% of the respondents to our latest FESPA Print Census said that they are optimistic for the future of their business, an uplift of 3% compared with the results of the 2015 Census.
Looking further into business performance, which has contributed to the high levels of optimism within the industry, businesses are showing continuous growth, averaging more than 4% year on year for the last decade.
Reflecting on FESPA Global Print Expo 2018 in May this year, the high level of optimism was reinforced through the record attendance of visitors, making it the best attended four-day show in FESPA’s history. There was clear buying intent among visitors to FESPA 2018 as 44% of the audience were senior business professionals and 70% of attendees held decision making positions, with average spending power of €224,094 per attendee, it’s no surprise that sales were strong. Lead generation was also high for exhibitors with 186,505 leads generated across the four days.
One of the key drivers for this optimism, which we have seen develop over the last decade is investment in digital print technology. This is rooted in the fact that respondents to the Census think that digital print is expected to contribute 53% of total revenue within two years, bringing a host of opportunities to print service providers (PSPs) and their businesses. Digital printing was high on the agenda of visitors to FESPA 2018, coming out as one of the top interest areas.
A key driver for this growth is diversification, with 55% of respondents believing that expanding their applications range is extremely important to their overall business, something that has become even more possible with digital print technology.
Two diversification areas that we’ve identified over the last couple of years in the industry are textile and digitally printed packaging, specifically corrugated. This growth was behind our decision to launch new features at this year’s Global Print Expo – Digital Corrugated Experience and Print Make Wear – while also redeveloping Printeriors, to mirror the growth in printed interior décor. These areas attracted first time exhibitors to the show and were well-received by visitors, inspiring them with options to expand their business application area.
As the rate of development in digital printing starts to level out and more PSPs invest in the technology, they will look to expand their existing product offering by using wide-format technology in new markets and it is our responsibility to help guide the global print community along this learning curve, demonstrating how they can reap all of the opportunities available to them.
With sustained growth also comes more consistent investment in staff education and training; 48% of businesses have invested in training staff on new tools. Knowledge sharing and education is central to our values, and the findings from the Census show that this is a key requirement within the industry. It seems that appetite for knowledge was strong from visitors to FESPA 2018 as the seminars were very well attended, with sessions scheduled on the key market growth areas. This was especially true of the Digital Corrugated Experience conference area, highlighting the need for continued education in this area. 
Over the last three years we’ve seen the optimism in the global speciality print community rise and with continuous development in machinery, consumables and media, and PSPs looking to other markets, this is bound to continue.

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