Share this story...

smithers pira logo lfr

A new report from Smithers Pira, The Future of Global Printing to 2020, examines the world markets for print and printed packaging to 2020.

Global printing output was projected to reach $870 billion in 2015. In constant value terms the global market is up from the 2010 value of $806 billion to $824 billion, but the total print volume has fallen, from the equivalent of 50.5 trillion A4 prints in 2010 down to 49.0 trillion A4 prints in 2020. Overall, Smithers Pira forecasts annual growth of 2% per year to 2020.

“Going forward the overall printing volume will continue to fall, but in constant value terms there is growth. This is through continuing product mix changes with a greater share of higher value products, particularly packaging, and the prospects vary significantly by geography,” said Dr Sean Smyth, co-author of the report.

“The report identifies the winners and losers. There are rising requirements for higher value digital production – to print low runs and to add engagement to the printed item – and for packaging where the physical needs and heavier substrates are higher in price.”

Packaging and labels are growing consistently, while publication print volumes and value are declining significantly. In publication and commercial graphics, electronic media is steadily replacing printed products. Print manufacturers are also more efficient, using better workflow and automation to minimize make-ready and lower waste, reducing demand for paper and inks.

There are similar efficiencies in packaging, but digital enjoys very low share (except for labels) and overall demand is growing. As digital systems develop there will be supply chain efficiencies reducing waste and unused packaging in those sectors. Digital print, chiefly used in the commercial print sector and labels, is faring rather better than the long-established analogue alternatives and is forecast to increase in market share by 2020 as new applications, particularly in packaging, grow. It is the higher value that is attractive to print service providers and to equipment and consumable manufacturers.

There are declines in North America, Western Europe and Australasia, while Latin America, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa all see growth. Asia is the biggest print region, growing in volume and value. China continues to grow and has overtaken the volume in the US during 2015 to become the biggest print market, although the value of the output is significantly lower reflecting the different product mix and lower pricing.

Analogue machinery is expected to fall while the value of digital equipment more than doubles in real terms. Printing inks and coating use broadly follows print volumes, although there are market mix changes with increasing use of colour, more radiation curing and greater use of varnishes and coatings pushing growth. It is, however, the much higher valued digital grades that are showing growth.

The Future of Global Printing to 2020 examines the changing nature of global print and the varying prospects for the different product sectors, print processes and regional markets over the next five years, with comprehensive market data and industry analysis based on new primary research.