Industry trends

3 trends transforming large format printing

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New products and services, new ways of working, plus a more eco-conscious and socially responsible outlook mean print business leaders have a huge opportunity to reinvent the way they work.
 

 

Print business leaders are looking to grow and adapt to meet urgent customer demands, and to develop new offerings that could help clients move in new directions. 
 
They know they need to become more efficient, focus on costs, and improve workflow by using technology that will help them simplify and streamline processes. And many are seeking ways to become socially responsible—for the sake of their customers, their reputations and, ultimately, profit.
 
So, let’s look at some of these trends and try to understand what they’ll mean for your print business over the coming months and years.
 

HOW CONTENT AND CREATIVITY ARE DRIVING THE INDUSTRY TRANSFORMATION 

 

With customers demanding unique ideas and more creative solutions, print businesses must step up to shape the future. Indeed, two fifths regard diversification of their large format print offering as a high priority, according to a survey from Widthwise in 2020.1


This could come from providing new products and services to existing customers, or finding innovative ways to build an additional customer base.
 
Interior decor is just one example. This covers many things, from fine art to durable upholstery, but the size of the opportunity is huge. Just consider that the global digitally printed wallpaper market has been predicted to grow at 23.6% annually (CAGR) until 2025, to reach a total value of $10.4 billion, according to figures from Energias Market Research.2
 
What’s more, print businesses are dealing with customers who have unprecedented demands and expectations around content. They have witnessed the meteoric rise of content platforms such as Canva and Zazzle and have become accustomed to buying goods and services from easy-to-use e-commerce platforms that offer next-day, or even same-day, delivery. How can print businesses respond with creative solutions that provide content, ideas, and experiences to meet the demands of customers?
 

HOW INTELLIGENT AUTOMATION CAN HELP PRINT BUSINESSES WORK SMARTER
 

 

While business leaders must pay close attention to sales growth, they must also focus on customer service and profitability. A big part of that is ensuring operations run effectively, and that means reducing costs, errors, and wastage while improving productivity, workload capacity, and time to market.

According to the last published FESPA Census,3 72% of print businesses are seeing increased demand from customers for faster turnaround times, and 59% believe that customer demand for “just in time” deliveries will increase. 
 
Increased use of automation is one way to help on both fronts. In 2020, Keypoint Intelligence4 asked print businesses to compare the share of total on-site print volume that was produced in a 100% automated workflow with their expectations for the future. The survey found that while 63% of volume was produced without any automation in 2020, that figure would drop to 36% by 2022. 
 
Workflow and automation technology can make all the difference. It can help improve the way print businesses operate by helping them quote more accurately, negotiate better prices with suppliers, and see where cost efficiencies can be made. Plus, software and services can also enable businesses to grab new opportunities—building a digital presence to capture orders online, for instance.
 

MAKING SUSTAINABILITY PROFITABLE FOR YOUR PRINT BUSINESS 

 

Recent HP research5 reveals that 85% of PSP customers now demand sustainable products and practices. The research is supported by the Widthwise study which showed that in 2020, 81% of PSPs regarded sustainable print solutions as “more important” than two years previously. 48% of respondents said their environmental focus for 2020 was to measure and/or reduce their carbon footprint.


This is driven by a desire to be more socially responsible, but also because of the business opportunity. Indeed, there is an urgent and growing need to find alternatives to materials such as PVC, with big brands leading the charge by making a commitment to being PVC free.
 
How is your print business reacting?
 

ACCELERATING CHANGE 

 

Print businesses have been evolving for some time, and the turbulance experienced in 2020 only accelerated that change. Many are displaying resilience and creativity, and businesses that will survive and thrive will be the ones that are versatile, connected, sustainable, and safe.
 
HP can help you take the next step to ensure your print business has the best chance of success.
 
1. July 2020 Widthwise Report www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/widthwise. Widthwise also did a PSP survey pre-Covid, at the beginning of 2020
 
2. https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2019/04/23/1808076/0/en/Global-Digitally-Printed-WallpaperDPW-Market-to-Witness-a-CAGR-of-23-6-during-2019-2025.html
 
3. FESPA Print Census Report, 2018
 
4. https://postscript.psda.org/Full-Article/9-trends-for-print-distributors-in-2021
 
5. https://press.hp.com/us/en/press-releases/2021/hp-drives-versatility-sustainability-new-latex.html
 
©Copyright HP Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. c07927184, November 2021

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