January 11, 2017
What They Think hosted the release from Smithers Pira, which stated that the market was valued at €159.2 billion ($168 billion) in 2016, and producing the “equivalent of some 13.2 trillion A4 prints”, as well as consuming “just over 68 million tonnes of printing substrates”. The “changing landscape forecast” for the market, the analysts added, was embodied by packaging increasing its share of value in the market from 44.7 percent in 2011 to a projected 56.6 percent by 2021.
They also noted that the European market is “driven from the end-user communication preferences of individuals, who have greater choice in communication with new channels including social media replacing print products”. This impact is “severe” for newspaper, magazine, book, catalogue and graphic products, but “less so in packaging where the physical properties of the pack are key”.
Smithers Pira also noted that “print demand is driven by many factors”, but that “the economic environment and advertising expenditure are important”, as across the region “there is a great deal of economic uncertainty within the macro-economic landscape”, which “determines much of the confidence in government, business and individuals” as well as their “ability or wish to spend money on print”.
This uncertainty has “plagued Europe since the financial crash” and the “successive Eurozone crises”, with governments having tried “many strategies from austerity to high spending programmes”. However, uncertainty “remains”, and in turn is “depressing print expenditure”, though print “remains an important communication channel that is competing for the attention of millions of European consumers”.
Methods of printing production are “developing” as new technologies are introduced that “change the costs of print production at high quality”, and the market “remains a large business” that sees “real growth in printed packaging as publication and graphics print declines”.
Sean Smyth, author of the Smithers Pira report, commented: “Much print promotes goods and services where it is in competition with other media, with new channels grabbing share of the expenditure, at the expense of print in many cases. Internet and social media, the digital channels including mobile, have grown strongly as brands and retailers develop their communications with customers and new retail channels come to the fore.
“There is evidence that print remains an important part of the mix, but it has to be effective and cost-competitive to be used. The media landscape is continuing to develop with influential figures in advertising starting to question the effectiveness of some digital growth, increasingly asking for better metrics on the effectiveness of digital.”
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