Drupa 2016

Drupa Global Insights study “The Impact of the Internet on Print – The digital flood”

GERMANY • The first results of the “drupa Global Insights” report on “The Impact of the Internet on Print – The digital flood” are now out. They illustrate how many Internet-enabled tools such as web-to-print, variable data printing, interactive print such as Augmented Reality and QR codes and smart technologies such as printed electronics, will impact on most areas of the printing industry.

Print service providers and the supplier industry on the one hand and their customers on the other are being compelled to deal with new challenges and opportunities. Werner M. Dornscheidt, President and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, underlines the relevance of the drupa study: “With its detailed analysis of the global markets and the overview of current trends, the “drupa Global Insights“ report is an important contribution to strategic decisions that need to be taken by printers and suppliers alike “. In spring 2014, about 1,100 international key executives from the printing industry took part in the on-line survey and many participants provided very informative examples from their business environment.

The shift to mass customisation
Whether it is photo books, calendars, stationery, marketing articles or T-shirts, in small or large volumes – the customized large-scale production of digital print articles is catching on. Already, 72% of all questioned commercial printers worldwide offer variable data printing services; in the US its proportion is even higher (87%). While the proportion of variable pages remains small, 56% of participants reported moderate or fast growth. Increasing numbers of commercial printers offer a wide range of print products that can be both sold on the web and personalized. These trends are confirmed by the “drupa Global Trends” report published in spring 2014: 38% of commercial printers and 32% of publishing printers expressed their intention to invest in digital electrophotographic colour sheet printers.

Interactive printing on the increase in the publishing and packaging segment
Interactivity is the watchword as print customers are realizing the power of communicating via the Internet and mobile technologies directly with their target audiences on a 1-2-1 basis. Cross-media campaigns, with data acquisition/analysis and the use of several channels (e.g. PURLs, Email, SMS), are increasingly demanded by customers.

The range of applied technologies includes QR codes, other smart-print options, augmented reality and near-field communication. One third of the drupa panel of experts already offers interactive print of one form or another, i.e. interactive response elements in publications, business communications, advertisements, packaging and outdoor advertisements. As was to be expected, there are major regional differences: in the US 44% of printing companies which took part in the survey offer interactive printing, but only 3% of providers in the Middle East. A substantial proportion of drupa panel members from the packaging sector also use Internet-based tools. 50% use QR codes, 43% use variable content, and 41% of all packaging printers that took part in the survey offer personalized print.

According to Drupa, the English version will be released in mid-October 2014; the Executive Summary will be available in seven languages (German, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Chinese) at www.drupa.de.

Andreas Keller

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