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What's In Store for Printers in 2017?

25 April 2017
Marketing & Selling Print

What's In Store for Printers in 2017?

As we say hello to 2017, the Print Industry waits with bated breath to see how recent events will affect print businesses around the country. 2017 is certainly set to be an exciting year, with more Print exhibitions than ever before showcasing the latest trends and technologies that Print Resellers can incorporate into their business. We’ve taken a look at some of the highlights, from events to market trends and technologies to see what’s in store for Printers in 2017.

Print Events 2017

The print industry certainly has a busy year ahead, with The Print Show moving to a new home in Telford to IPEX returning to its homeland at The NEC. This year, there’s even a new kid on the block with Print Week launching its first ever exhibition, PrintWeekLive! Undecided which exhibitions to attend? We’ve rounded up what is expected from each show for you to decide which will be the most beneficial to your business.

– The Print Show

At its new home at the Telford International Centre, The Print Show has promised exciting new additions to build upon the success of 2016’s exhibition. Predominantly, these added attractions will arrive in the form of an array of educational content which aims to inform visitors about the ways technological developments can help their print business grow. There will be an expanded Business Seminar programme which will cover everything from maximising sales and margins to diversifying your offering into digital marketing and design services. In The Software Training Theatre, Adobe is expanding their training seminar followed by a celebration of the reintroduction of letterpress printing in the Traditional Print Masterclass.

The show will be a fantastic opportunity for print business owners to gain inspiration and explore new revenue streams. The Printers Bazaar, which was launched in 2016, will be making another appearance. This promises to show visitors the range of different services which can increase sales and attract customers. Enhancing your business with new high-margin services which require little investment will continue to be the Bazaar’s major purpose. In comparison to IPEX, which historically hones in on cutting-edge technology and the latest equipment that the print industry has to offer, The Print Show has taken a slightly different route, addressing the changing landscape for high street and commercial printers with practical ways to keep your business thriving.

– PrintWeekLive!

Print giants such as Heidelberg, Xerox and Duplo have already signed up for the inaugural PrintWeekLive! The show kicks off its debut at the Wasps Arena in Coventry from 8-9th Marchand is set to be jam packed with the latest machinery and technology including keynote speakers from global industry leaders such as Indigo Software, Heidelberg and Kodak. Workshops range from technical talks on inkjet printing and colour management to business focused events such as new eCommerce solutions to the problem with fixed Mark-Ups.

Print Week has evidently taken a lot of time researching exactly what both Exhibitors and Visitors will be looking for in a new Print Exhibition. Various focus groups have been consulted and surveys were undertaken to try and see which gaps have been left by IPEX and The Print Show, and how PrintWeekLive can fill them. The results showed that people are essentially looking for inspiration they can take back to their business.

The event has tried hard to offer something valuable to everybody, from smaller high-street printers to large international corporations. There has been a conscious effort to speak not only about the latest machinery, but the Conference programme offers a much wider array of business ideas. Managing Millennials, Growing Pains and How to Avoid Them and The Art of Diversification are a few conference talks which promise to showcase practical advice and inspire printers of all sizes.

– IPEX 2017

After a short stint in London, The UK’s longest running print exhibition is back at the NEC and is set for a stormer in 2017. Over 400 exhibitors and 20,000 print professionals are expected to come and see what IPEX 2017 has to offer. PRINT IN ACTION will be this year’s focus, with a mammoth range of print equipment covering the show floor, demonstrating the importance of print in branding and business. New and innovative uses for print are anticipated to dominate the show, in comparison to The Print Show and PrintWeekLive! which have taken a more commercially focused path, concentrating on the growth of print businesses. IPEX 2017 has instead decided upon a “vigorous response to market changes by committing to the organiser’s new vision for the industry’s major sales event”.

The Substrates Catwalk will be a massive part of this, featuring a creative way to present print in all visual forms. Updates on their panel discussions and workshops are still yet to be released, which the industry will look forward to with anticipation.

UK Market Trends

2017 is set to be one of change and leaders in the industry are excited to see how new developments in technology and trade will affect Printers in the long-term.

The BPIF recently conducted a survey which saw 90% of respondents believing import costs will start to increase following the UK’s departure from the EU. Since such a large proportion of equipment is manufactured in Germany, this comes as little surprise. However, staffing and workforce management is set to be stable. European National’s being unable to work freely in the UK isn’t as worrying to printers since, unlike Agriculture and Health, for example, the print industry doesn’t heavily rely on workers from European countries.

According to a report on the Print Industry conducted by Smithers Pira, print volume is set to fall by 1.6% annually in 2017. Economic instability is thought to be one cause, with another being the continued rise of other forms of communication such as Social Media replacing print. However, Smithers Pira print consultant Sean Smyth remains optimistic on the role of commercial printers in the UK; “Print will succeed if it is cost-effective, relevant, easy to use and understand and demonstrably sustainable”. In this competitive landscape, printers must find new ways to emphasise the value of print for consumers and also be open to diversifying their services to offer a more comprehensive service.

One specific sector which is forecasted to rise throughout 2017 is packaging. No electronic alternatives are available to replace packaging and with the rise of door to door deliveries showing no signs of stopping, packaging is an arena printers shouldn’t dismiss.

Judith Donovan from the SMP believes the industry will start to see a massive increase in the number of small firms and self-employed people entering the market, however a “lack of ability to market themselves properly” remains one of her biggest concerns for these smaller printers. This predicted surge in new blood is definitely a positive note for an industry who has had to fight back against the notion that it is “dying”.

Marian Stefani from the IPIA agrees. “Print is really starting to fight back against digital and online communications” she states, “there is a real opportunity to say to clients and prospects that they should re-engage with print and look at how it adds value.” The issues Printers are going to have to face in 2017 seem not as much to do with investing in the latest technology, but instead investing in new Marketing methods and educating their customers on the importance and worth print can bring to their business.

Surprisingly, print seems to be winning the battle in the fight between print and digital when it comes to the tech-savvy Millennials. “Millennials still strongly prefer print for pleaser and learning” claims a survey conducted by the University of Washington. Whilst Facebook has become the most common way for readers to digest news, when it comes magazines such as auto shop, sports and gaming, print is still King. Again, the key message printers should take from this is that there is still demand in print, but we will have to find different ways to find customers.

Print Technology

2016 saw massive steps forward in inkjet technology becoming more achievable for commercial printers with Drupa showcasing groundbreaking leaps in the form of finishing solutions and laser cutting. But what does 2017 have in store for Print Technology?

Towards the end of last year, Canon announced a major breakthrough in Wide Format roll-to roll printing in the shape of UVgel. Canon declared that the new technology “addresses the limitations of eco-solvent and latex printing by enabling to jet the ink faster onto the media which increases the productivity and speed while using less ink and still delivering an improved colour gamut.” Precise dot placement and area control are the main benefits of the technology, which instantly gels when it comes into contact with the surface. Canon is hoping that this will save print resellers up to 40% in printing costs and shave time off production.

Inkjet Printing is predicted to carry on its upward spiral in popularity, with the entire market forecasted to reach $67.3 billion in 2017. Although it only shares a small portion of the print market (4.2%), it is proving an attractive option to suppliers and resellers who are seeing falls in direct mail, commercial products and labels. Although traditionally used in tile and wide-format printing, magazine printing is seeing an uplift in Inkjet since the personalisation and speed options available are becoming apparent to printers.

For printers looking to explore new profit avenues and more services to offer in their shops, Xerox has the answer. Their Direct to Object Printer was unveiled at the National Retail Federation’ EXPO, which enables Print Shop owners to digitally print onto objects such as water bottles in minutes. This automated method of personalisation is paving the way in print and is an exciting opportunity for Printers to diversify their product range and offer exciting new services to their customers.

So it seems Printers have a busy year in store! In a rapidly changing landscape, we have to continue to find new ways to keep print innovative, exciting and most importantly, profitable. The demand is clearly there, but it seems the main challenge of 2017 is deciphering how best to find it.


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