Canon has today announced the publication of its full 2014 Insight Report. Entitled Building your future with print, this latest independent industry survey is the fifth in the series of Insight Reports commissioned by Canon to analyse the trends and opportunities for print. Overall findings from the research show that there is a healthy demand for print as a communications medium and little sign of decline over the past two years, with 62% of print and media buyers commissioning print for their communications campaigns. However, from the perspective of the print service providers (PSPs), 80% now recognise the need to change to meet the future needs of their customers – an increase of 8% since the first Insight report in 2008.
Conducted by an independent research consultancy, the objective of this latest survey sets out to compare the views of PSPs with print and media buyers, to examine how these trends and attitudes have changed from earlier reports. By analysing feedback from the two participating groups, the results of the report provide a clearer vision and set of recommendations for PSPs to successfully drive their business forward.
The survey centred around over 550 telephone interviews with senior decision makers (275 commercial printers and CRDs, and 277 print and media buyers of differing sizes) across a wide range of sectors and from 25 countries throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
According to the views of the print buyers, print still offers considerable value, possessing the unique ability to reflect quality, reach the more challenging ‘offline’ audiences and differentiate messaging from digital communication. However, with predictions of growth in digital and online media, and with 38% of buyers indicating a likely decrease in the use of print, PSPs will need to continue to work hard to promote the values of print to prevent migration to what is perceived by respondents to be more measureable and trackable ‘virtual’ alternatives.
While print buyers are broadly satisfied with their print providers – with 84% stating they meet their communications needs – there is still scope for greater customer engagement to improve business opportunities. Only 56% of print buyers feel they are made aware of new developments by their PSPs, leaving 44% acknowledging their PSP is not keeping them informed. This indicates there is still room for PSPs to improve in terms of providing proactive advice and introducing them to the latest products and technologies.
Despite some lack of education in the latest developments, awareness and use of digital print applications and services continues a strong upward trend, with short run publications, print-on-demand and web-to-print all witnessing continued growth, fuelled in part by cost and time pressures from the buyers.
Web-to-print has seen the greatest increase since the last Insight report, with a 50% growth since 2012, with almost one in three customers now using web-to-print services. Both printers and customers acknowledge the benefits of web-to-print offering greater convenience, speed and cost efficiencies and it clearly offers business opportunities for providers. However there is still a lack of awareness, with 39% of customers remaining unaware of the availability of web-to-print services.
Equally compelling is the opportunity to expand service offerings into non-print media to complement their existing print communications. Today, 68% of print buyers use multi-channel communications, a significant rise of 10% in just two years. Canon’s 2012 ‘Bigger Picture’ report also highlighted print being used in 94% of multi-channel campaigns, making it the foundation on which virtual media can then be deployed. By contrast, only 20% of all PSPs offer multi-channel campaign co-ordination, indicating a clear gap between the help that print buyers want and need in developing their multi-channel campaigns and what their PSPs currently offer.
Perhaps one of the most interesting findings from the survey is that, despite 80% of commercial printers and CRDs recognising the need to change the way they operate, the majority still lack structured planning for the future. Only 48% of commercial printers and 32% of CRDs have a formal marketing or business development plan in place – and where one exists, only half review it on a regular basis.
Commenting on the publication of Canon’s fifth Insight Report Building your future with Print, Andrew Harris, European & UK Professional Print Marketing Manager says, “This latest research has given us the opportunity to revisit trends and attitudes from some of our earlier Insight Reports, giving an invaluable picture of how the industry has developed over the past six years. More importantly, the findings provide compelling evidence that have been translated into meaningful recommendations which we hope will motivate and inspire our customers to build stronger, exceptional businesses for the future.”
“Whilst there is much to be positive about in terms of the continued value of print amongst print buyers, there are still improvements that can be made by print service providers to capture further opportunities and establish even stronger links with their customers. Not only does the Report outline a number of key recommendations for building a stronger future, it also gives an indication of the future skills that PSPs need to develop to deliver these new service offerings.”