Changing landscape forecast for €159.2 billion European print market

Changing landscape forecast for €159.2 billion European print market

In 2016 the printing market across Europe is valued at €159.2 billion, producing the equivalent of some 13.2 trillion A4 prints and consuming just over 68 million tonnes of printing substrates. Packaging represented 44.7% of the market by value in 2011; this rises to 56.6% by 2021.

The European print market is driven from the end-user communication preferences of individuals, who have greater choice in communication with new channels including social media replacing print products. This is severe in newspaper, magazine, book, catalogue and graphic products, less so in packaging where the physical properties of the pack are key.

Graph European Printing output 2011 to 2021

Much print promotes goods and services where it is in competition with other media, with new channels grabbing share of the expenditure, at the expense of print in many cases. Internet and social media, the digital channels including mobile, have grown strongly as brands and retailers develop their communications with customers and new retail channels come to the fore. There is evidence that print remains an important part of the mix, but it has to be effective and cost-competitive to be used. The media landscape is continuing to develop with influential figures in advertising starting to question the effectiveness of some digital growth, increasingly asking for better metrics on the effectiveness of digital.

Print demand is driven by many factors, but the economic environment and advertising expenditure are important. Across Europe there is a great deal of economic uncertainty within the macro-economic landscape and it determines much of the confidence in government, business and individuals, and their ability or wish to spend money on print. Economic uncertainty has plagued Europe since the financial crash and successive Eurozone crises. Governments have tried many strategies from austerity to high spending programmes but uncertainty remains, depressing print expenditure.

The main positive trend since 2011 is growth in digital print for graphics, and after 2014 a steady take up into mainstream packaging production. This contrasts with a decline in analogue print processes overall, as the digital transition continues and print volume is lost to alternative media channels. Analogue print markets have fallen by an average CAGR of 2.4% between 2011 and 2016 in constant value terms, with continuing falls averaging 0.6% in the five years to 2021. In contrast digital value grew by a CAGR of 6.8% from 2011 to 2016, while the forecast to 2021 is for a further 3.5% annual growth.

The Future of European Printing to 2021 is based on an in-depth combination of primary and secondary research. Primary research included telephone interviews with industry experts across Europe. In-depth follow-up interviews were then carried out to provide more detail and background on specific responses. Secondary research was based on analysis of Smithers comprehensive printing industry database. Additional information was gathered from country printing associations and ink and paper suppliers, as well as various printing contacts throughout Europe. This report provides a unique depth of information and analysis.

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