By Marcus Timson
With commercial, document printing in steep decline due to a number of factors, not least lack of innovation and the shift to new media, one has to ask whether graphic printing is going to suffer the same fate eventually?
Will graphic printing continue to remain as robust as it has done over the past few years?
Marketplaces shift, products mature and demand changes. Fact.
Has graphic print production which has enjoyed a buoyant few years, actually had its day?
It is a contentious debate. But one that needs to be had. The fact is, if you take a look at the Industrial Print Blog penned by Tim Phillips of Xennia http://industrialprintshow.com/adoption-of-digital-technology-in-industrial-applications/ and take a look at the facts, everyone agrees that demand for graphic production is, in terms of adoption of digital technology, decreasing as it is now in late majority territory.
The market has converted, innovation has slowed and growth is now linked purely to point of sale retail demand. Whereas back in 2007, when the graphic print market was at its peak, the market benefited hugely from the push of technological innovation and the pull of consumer demand that stimulated growth for retail and outdoor print. Those were the good old days for graphic printing indeed!
Now we really only have the pull of a weakened retail sector and the push of incremental innovation from the digital print technology sector.
It makes sense doesn't it? Innovation has slowed, consumer demand for products in a tight economy is not growing and consequently nothing really new is being launched because machinery that is entering the market right now only really represents slight improvements in performance as opposed to huge leaps forward in production speed, quality and flexibility.
So whilst graphic production still has some growth to look forward to, does it really represent an exciting market opportunity long into the future? That is debatable.
I am hearing from lots of sources that it is no longer a highly profitable sector and it does not provide a guaranteed growth curve in the future. It is a tight market, that is commoditised and exposed to the threat of online retail, new media and digital signage.
So ask yourself what will the future hold in a years time? What market will provide the best growth opportunity?
Might industrial print be something you should look to diversify into?