At this month’s pre-Drupa PrintCity Alliance international press briefing in a snow-engulfed venue near Munich, the central debate was around the future of print. Is the digital world we live in, which allows us instant access to global news and communication at the touch of a screen, going to stifle the market for printed media? Will newspapers be a thing of the past? Will books, magazines and trade journals be totally replaced by digital versions?
There was much discussion about the importance of quality content, but also the diversion of advertising budgets – the life-blood of media – out of print and into new media, leaving traditional printed publications with no option but to reduce paginations and editorial costs, or close. Of course no one has a crystal ball, but one vision of the future that was universally agreed at this conference was that packaging and labelling hold a very positive future for print.
Indeed, it is predicted that the market for packaging and labels will grow to represent around 40% of the print revenue by 2016. As one door closes another opens.
This growth will be driven by a combination of factors – not the least of these being the anticipated population growth, from 7 billion now to 9 billion by 2050, and the need to safely transport food and drink to all these people. Minimal food wastage, of course, will be the prime driver, especially in developing countries.
Consumer demand for packaged goods in general will also continue to grow, opening up further decorative and value-added print and finishing opportunities, especially in the area of luxury goods. These are likely to include ‘intelligent’ packaging, brand security solutions and even packaging as multi-media, added-value printed information carriers.
High impact, high quality and more functional demands will be placed on packaging along with personalised and exclusive limited edition packs – meaning shorter runs and a growth in flexible and digital printing.
So for packaging converters the future is perhaps not so uncertain as it may be for others in the world of print.
In the next two editions of Converting Today we will highlight what’s new and exciting for packaging and label converters from members of the PrintCity Alliance and other exhibitors at Drupa this May in Düsseldorf. So look out for these show previews.
In the meantime, we hope to see many of you at the EasyFairs Print Innovations show (a section of the Packaging Innovations exhibition being held at the Birmingham NEC this month – see review feature).