Impact of Sustainability Demands Revealed in FESPA 2023 Census - Image Magazine

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Impact of Sustainability Demands Revealed in FESPA 2023 Census

Impact of Sustainability Demands Revealed in FESPA 2023 Census

FESPA has published the headline findings of its 2023 Print Census, highlighting the impact of rising sustainability demands and evolving customer requirements on business models and investment plans.

Conducted in partnership with InfoTrends, a division of Keypoint Intelligence, this year’s Census further explored the long-term trends that emerged from the analysis of the 2018 Print Census, including revenue and industry outlook, the rise of environmental pressures, changing customer demands, future investment and purchasing plans, and business models and strategies.

One thousand seven hundred seventy-eight printers and signmakers from over 120 countries participated in the survey, representing a 26.5 per cent increase from the last Print Census published in May 2018. Respondents defined their business focus as graphics (61 per cent), signage (26 per cent), textile (24 per cent) and industrial (14 per cent).

Key 2023 Print Census findings

Revenue increase and industry outlook

The market outlook remains positive, in line with the results from 2018, with 71 per cent of respondents stating that they are optimistic about the future of their business despite the considerable economic challenges of the past five years.

The survey further highlighted that the industry adapts to the changing landscape and finds new growth opportunities. In accordance with this, respondents reported a 7 per cent average revenue increase since the 2018 Census. In 2018, the mean annual revenue was reported as €4.4m, compared with a mean annual revenue of €4.7m in 2023, showing a €330k increase.

Growing demand for sustainability

The Census reaffirmed that the pressure on printers and signmakers to be more sustainable continues to rise, with 72 per cent of print buyers requesting environmentally friendly products and practices. Twenty-five per cent of respondents shared that their customers cared most about sustainable products, and 12 per cent identified a focus on sustainable manufacturing. However, most printers (36 per cent) disclosed that their customers cared about both. The perceived cost increases are often a barrier to sustainable production, but 70 per cent of the respondents shared that they can address sustainability demands without raising prices. A further 22 per cent advised that they had already raised pricing without impacting sales.

Customer demand continues to change the market.

The industry is being shaped by changing customer requirements, including quicker turnaround times, more personalisation and versioning options, and shorter print runs. Sixty-seven per cent of responses showed an increase in the demand for faster turnaround, 58 per cent noted a rise in requests for shorter runs, and 56 per cent highlighted the upsurge in interest for more versioning and personalisation. In comparison, only 38 per cent noted an increase in the demand for more complex logistic requirements.

Wide-format purchasing plans

The survey highlighted that print service providers are interested in investing in technology that can streamline production and provide greater application flexibility. Of the 201 out of 1778 respondents who indicated they own screen printing and wide format equipment, UV-curable Inkjet (27 per cent), eco-solvent Inkjet (18 per cent) and CNC finishing (17 per cent) are the highest priority for their purchasing plans.

Business expansion drives technology investment.

When asked about the rationale behind planned technological investments and allowing for multiple options to be selected, 55 per cent of respondents indicated they want to enter new markets and expand their service and application offerings, 53 per cent are focused on enhancing print quality, and 52 per cent are looking to reduce unit cost.

FESPA Head Of Associations & Technical Lead Graeme Richardson-Locke comments, “It’s a really positive result to see our community so optimistic not only about the future of our industry but also about the growth potential of their businesses. The survey once again cemented that one of the key challenges printers and signmakers are currently facing are the ever-changing customer demands and the growing need for sustainable solutions. Thanks to the responses from our community, we can now develop and evolve our offering to tailor it, but above all, we hope that the Census findings will help our community to benchmark themselves against similar businesses globally and to make informed choices for their future.”

The 2023 Print Census results will be presented at select FESPA events, such as FESPA Middle East 2024; the full report is available free of charge to members of FESPA national Associations.


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