New PRIMIR research explores the future of worldwide print

PRIMIR, the Print Industries Market Information and Research Organisation, the market research unit of NPES, has revealed its new study, ‘The Future of Print in the US – Landscape, Implications and Opportunities’, authored by The Economist Intelligence Unit, alongside an informative study overview video of the same name.

According to the study, over the next decade the US commercial print industry will be a rapidly changing environment as outside forces continue to drive huge change that will dampen the demand for print. Understanding the future landscape through the lens of these major outside industry drivers can definitively highlight emerging new opportunities. The study identifies critical trends including the evolution of the consumer experience, the rise of data, the importance of mass personalisation and product differentiation, and the role of social media in content generation and consumption. Successful printers will emerge by formulating new business models, based upon key concepts identified in the study, that leverage these outside trends to innovate, differentiate, specialise and provide new services.

PRIMIR Future of PrintSteve Mattingly, PRIMIR task force co-chair and senior vice president of Southern Lithoplate, said: “This study was purposely designed to provoke thought, dialogue and even the ‘great debate’ among PRIMIR and NPES members, over the significant structural shifts still underway in our industry – reduced print shipments, shrinking employment and, particularly, the steep decline in the number of print establishments. Our industry can emerge from survival mode to success, through expansion, niche markets focus, and even, creation of entirely new business models and partnering strategies… we must evolve.”

While most of the trends uncovered as part of this study will drive down the overall demand for print, they will also create opportunities for print industry pioneers. Technology advancements, coupled with changes in consumer behaviour, will continue to have profound impacts.

Consolidation in the US commercial print industry will continue as a result of the downward pressure created by outside industry forces. As the printing industry is saturated with overcapacity, buyers will look to grow their business in the next two to three years by purchasing customers, and sellers will be driven by a lack of succession planning and dwindling profits resulting from competing on price.

Successful printers in the future will shift their businesses away from the traditional print-based model and embrace concepts, such as differentiation and specialisation in a particular niche, providing new services, and improving human capital. Printers that fail to adapt will likely be acquired by larger, more progressive printers.