Trends that affect Printing and Coating Markets
Covid-19 Accelerates Trends in Printing and Coating
Various trends are in place that are now and will continue to affect printing and coating markets. Covid-19 has acted as an accelerant for these trends. When the initial reaction to Covid-19 locked-down world wide economies, businesses closed, people stayed home, and schools and businesses conducted remote operations keeping people separated.
Travel restrictions were introduced and self-isolation, or social distancing became the rule. The pandemic resulted in an overall downturn in the global print market during 2020. It is reported that the global print market shrunk in 2020 due to Covid-19, falling in value from over $814 billion in 2019 to $743 billion in 2020.
While we have learned how to deal with Covid-19 with the development of vaccines, and treatments for those infected, no one knows what the future holds. Currently we are seeing case-loads and deaths drop in highly vaccinated parts of the world. With this has come a relaxation in social restrictions.
New Social Habits that have developed will remain in our Future.
Habitual hygiene has become a centerpiece of human existence with the fear of contracting disease. We see this with people wanting less density in office buildings, elevators, churches transportation, stores, theaters, restaurants, schools, work, hospitals, medical offices, and all manner of human gathering places.
The result is more on-line shopping and banking, increased demand for single-use packaging, more eating at home, more at-home deliveries, curbside/drive-thru pickup of prepared food, groceries, Rx, and more contactless transactions.
Other trends are seen in moves to digital payments, touch credit/debit cards, telehealth-chat bots, wear-able IoT tracking vital signs, robot deliveries of foods-products, robot disinfection, virtual meetings, online streaming of entertainment, virtual tours-travel, delivery drones, and supply chain 4.0-big data, cloud computing, IoT, and blockchain.
Remote operations, remote work, and remote learning will likely remain a factor as economic advantages are recognized. These trends are said to be only the start of a larger reshuffle. Covid-19 has made the world realize how much we depend on human interaction in order to make things work. This has especially been realized in labor-intensive businesses which have become the most affected.
Global Print: 10 Year Decline in Volume, Increase in Revenue
The global print market is forecast to show a token decline in volume, but a growth in value from $767.4 billion in 2014 to $862.7 in 2024. However, the role of printing is changing, with the internet and mobile connectivity impacting the way businesses, and individuals access information and data to communicate. This trend is evident by the growth of toner and ink-jet digital printing.
Analog printing is forecast to continue to grow in the future, with the growth occurring in flexo & gravure packaging applications. Offset printing will continue to be the larger print technology in both value and volume. Value will decline from $355.3 billion in 2014 to $314.5 billion by 2024.
Publication’s printing has been especially affected with newspapers, and magazines being left behind as readers switched to more instant online media. Advertising losses followed dropping both cold-set and heat-set litho volume. It is anticipated that most of this drop in volume will never come back as media moves to online-only or is discontinued.
Digital Printing Continues Growth
This is resulting in less heat-set and cold-set web offset litho production, with flat growth expected from $183.7 billion in 2014 to $192.6 billion in 2024. Meanwhile, the digital print sector grows significantly with inkjet printing growing from $103.1 billion in 2014 to $180.9 billion in 2024. The global digital printing packaging market alone is projected to reach $28 billion by 2024.
Commercial printing featuring business forms, newsletters, and manuals all declined with a move to online availability.
Packaging and labeling markets have been the least affected by Covid-19 with food, beverage, and pharmaceutical sectors continuing to grow. Smart labeling and smart packaging are trending with smartphones giving consumers the means to interact with both packaging and products.
Smartphones are the key to Individual Independence
Smartphones are said to have unlocked what is being called the anything-anytime-anywhere future. Apps are allowing us to do almost anything at will, shop-buy-sell online, listen to music, send/receive emails, play games, compare prices, watch videos-entertainment-real-time news, conduct banking & investing online, etc.
E-Commerce is where the growth is with most retailers pursuing direct-to-consumer service. This has driven growth in packaging, up by 40% over 2019, with greater demand for additional packaging and labeling. E-commerce has also seen brands short-run test their products first before moving them to brick-and-mortar outlets.
Plastic Packaging will Remain in High Demand
Plastics are in again with the recognition that disposables in healthcare contribute to safety and hospitals cannot function without it. Additionally, consumers have shown that they want to see the products that they buy as a testament to freshness, along with the cleanliness expected from a sealed package.
Shifts to Higher Quality Printing and Products Made at Home
Another trend in place as a result of the global pandemic is a consumer shift to want goods that are domestically made. In the US, “Made in the USA” is in, along with a desire for high-quality brands. Other countries are facing similar preferences. Based on the effects of this aggregate of trends, it is projected that fewer low-value items will be printed. There will be a movement to higher quality, and greater use of aesthetic embellishment effects that will add value, and consumer-attracting interest to products.
This is where coatings will be a huge factor having not only the primary ability to protect printed inks, but also and importantly being able to add functionality to substrates. Notably, coatings with all of their application variations, are able to add imaginative aesthetic embellishments that project quality while demanding the consumers attention.
Continuing Supply Chain Challenges
Security of supply, or the guarantee of supply of goods and services, has proven to be important during the Covid-19 pandemic, as many customers of various goods found that they were left without product. Significantly, Cork following good supply chain security management practices was able to protect its customers during the crisis.