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07 Feb 2022
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Six major trends for printers to capitalise on in 2022

2021 was a challenging year for the print industry. Lockdowns and restrictions meant that market demand for traditional print applications declined.  Other applications like label, light packaging, and wide format grew. Those businesses that were fast enough to pivot into new areas reported strong growth.  

The good news is the industry is showing strong signs of economic recovery. 2022 is predicted to be a much better year. We expect there will be significant opportunities for print businesses to diversify and expand what they can offer. Those that do will play a larger role in their customers’ success and capitalise on emerging trends.  

In this piece we interview Tatjana Ferguson, product marketing manager – production and industrial print to identify six major trends that printers should be aware of in 2022: 

1. Changing supply chains creating growth in digital print 

What is driving the growth in digital print?  

 Over the last 12-18 months we have seen a definite shift to eCommerce. Consumers are now expecting to receive goods in record times. This coupled with lengthy international shipping times is seeing local manufacturing boom and subsequently the need for on-demand printing and label production is also booming. Customers are also seeking environmentally sustainable options. Digital print is well suited to address this concern, producing fewer emissions and less waste. It also uses more sustainable materials, which can be more cost effective for customers.  

What benefits does digital print deliver for eCommerce?  

Digital print offers far more flexibility than non-digital methods.  This means organisations can create personalised experiences with digital designs or include smart packaging with scannable QR codes and sharable links. This will be essential for organisations to leverage the potential of drone-based delivery and real-time package tracking. Furthermore, some digital label presses can now produce food-safe labels. 

2. Automation is delivering business-boosting efficiencies 

How does automation benefit printers?  

Automating print workflows and leveraging inline finishing systems is already saving printers considerably in terms of human resources and costs. Having automated processes means fewer people are required to manage a job through to completion. Jobs can be completed faster, and errors are less likely to occur through the process. This means printers can take on more work, deliver a better result for customers, and save on costs.  

Printers who automate their workflows can receive and manage orders 24/7, thus optimising the use of their equipment. They can streamline prepress work, speed up printing and finishing, print on demand, increase profitability, and offer new services, attracting new customers.  

What does the future hold for automation?  

The benefits of automation will result in further adoption in 2022. Adopting automated workflows provides printers with an opportunity to offer more complex services and outputs, creating more demand from customers without adding costs. This can increase margins and build the business’s reputation as a reliable, high-quality printer. 

Some of the key areas that printers should be looking to automate include: 

  • web to print 

  • job submission / prepress 

  • colour management 

  • variable data printing 

  • finishing 

  • device management 

 

3. Improving margins and profitability with value-adds like varnish and foil 

What are manufacturers doing to differentiate their products?  

The tactile nature of embellishment and visual appeal of varnish and foil can help products stand out from the crowd. This is increasingly true in the post COVID-19 world where people have been starved of touch. Organisations that deliver a sensual and enjoyable feel for their products and packaging can command a higher price: Research shows when people can touch items they are 22 per cent more likely to buy them and they value them more highly by as much as 24 per cent.1  

How can printers deliver value through digital embellishment?  

Digital embellishment can create a spectacular and impactful packaging experience. It can also be very cost effective, especially compared with the benefits it can offer. With this technology printers can add spot UV varnishing, 3D embossed and textural effects, and foiling to traditional print. We anticipate that more printers will take advantage of this capability in 2022 and beyond as brands look to create premium experiences. 

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Six major trends for printers to capitalise on in 2022

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