FESPA Print Census #SixTrends: 1. The Feel Good Factor
Of the six overarching trends exposed by the FESPA Print Census, one is the most heart-warming, because it points the way to a bright future for print.
It’s not a technical innovation, or an exciting new substrate, or even an appealing new application. It’s bigger than that. It’s about self-belief.
80% of respondents to the Print Census - representing printers from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas - told us that they are optimistic for their businesses. Even allowing for the fact that entrepreneurs are by their nature relatively ‘glass half-full’ folk with a natural optimism bias, that’s four out of five printers saying that times are good, and getting better.
And it’s not blind optimism – it’s grounded in their financial performance, which is showing a sustained upswing over the last five years, as we’ve emerged from the depths of the global economic crisis. Looking at Europe specifically, where we have robust survey data for the last eight years, average revenues have more than doubled over that time period, with much of the growth coming from non-print services, proving the value of diversification and an extended service offering.
Talking to printers at our events around the globe, what we hear is that they feel positive because they’re taking charge, regardless of any challenges that may be thrown their way. They have a clear strategy for their own business development, and they’re pursuing it tenaciously, making judicious capital investments and driving through changes that are improving business performance.
It’s interesting too that our respondents tend to be more optimistic for their own future than that of the industry as a whole, by a factor of about 14%, presumably because they don’t perceive the same strategic clarity among their peers.
Perhaps these five other key trends which dominate the FESPA Print Census findings offer a clue to the strategic thinking behind this widespread optimism?
- customer demands – print is a service industry
- a changing product mix – from mass production to mass customisation
- digital technology is the change enabler
- textile print growth in graphics, garment, decor and industrial markets
- the future of sign & display printing is integrated with digital media
Every print business is individual, but our goal at FESPA is to provide our members with the knowledge, business intelligence, best practice guidelines and peer networks to give them the confidence to achieve their business goals. Our exhibitions worldwide set out to provide information and inspiration in equal measure, to help printers grasp the full creative and commercial scope of the innovations that are on show.
Optimism is contagious, so let’s face the world with confidence in the value of our work, belief in print as an effective medium of communication, and positivity in our ability to evolve and thrive.
The FESPA Print Census is a global research project undertaken by FESPA in partnership with Infotrends to understand developments in the wide format, screen and digital print community. The Print Census was funded through FESPA’s Profit for Purpose programme, which reinvests revenues from FESPA’s global events to support printers worldwide with insights, best practice and networking opportunities.
The Census was conducted from May 2014 to April 2015, and surveyed over 1200 respondents in 64 countries, both face-to-face and online. FESPA is sharing the salient trends from the Print Census openly, but the detailed 39-page FESPA Census report is a member-only publication.
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