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Here Are the Market Trends That Came to Life at FESPA 2018 Global Print Expo

Written by the FESPA Team

The findings from FESPA’s Print Census were shared at the Global Print Expo 2018 in Berlin which demonstrated six dominant trends. At FESPA Global Print Expo 2018 in Berlin, the organisers shared the findings from our latest FESPA Print Census. This research reinforces six dominant trends that continue to influence how speciality printers are developing their businesses.

  1. Business optimism
  2. Customer demands
  3. An evolving wide format product mix
  4. Digital technology investment
  5. Growth of textile applications
  6. Environmental demands

As FESPA published its up-to-date research findings, it was satisfying to see these six key trends reflected so strongly across FESPA 2018 – in feedback from the exhibitors and visitors, and in the market’s response to the new educational features which FESPA introduced this year in response to industry demand.

83% of FESPA Census respondents told us they are optimistic for the future of their business. You could really sense that sector-wide optimism in the upbeat mood of the Berlin event. With record attendance to a four-day FESPA show, there was clear buying intent among visitors, and exhibitors across the board reported good sales and strong lead intake. The continued emphasis among PSPs on technology investment to support business growth was reinforced by the 186,505 sales leads captured by exhibitors throughout the four-day event.

Customer Demands
The impact of changing customer expectations on print businesses is ever more pronounced. Today, 72% of respondents report increasing demand for fast turnaround, 61% see a growing requirement for short runs and 59% note rising expectations of just-in-time delivery.

For PSPs, this places continued emphasis on the need to maximise productivity and optimise end-to-end process efficiency, which was evident in the continued momentum of new technology launches at FESPA 2018.

For example, this year we saw the introduction of HP’s first hybrid technology, the Latex R Series; Fujifilm’s latest printers, the Acuity Ultra and the Acuity B1 modular system; a next-generation EFI Vutek hybrid printer; new flatbed and roll-to-roll printers from Mutoh; the new JPK UV printer from MS Printing Solutions; and the commercial launch of the Onset M from Inca Digital.

Printers tell us that productivity is the primary criteria for their capital investment, with 63% looking for faster output from a new printer. It’s apparent too that fully automated production is also starting to make its presence felt at FESPA, with robotised flatbed production workflows on show from Canon, and from Fujifilm and Inca Digital within the new Digital Corrugated Experience.

Evolving Wide Format Product Mix
The range of applications represented at FESPA increases every year, reflecting the increasing diversity of work being handled by PSPs.

The breadth of media products being showcased at FESPA today is incredible, to the point where substrates occupied an entire hall at the 2018 show. Visitor interest in media seems to be growing too; for example, rigid plastic media producer Brett Martin told us that their lead intake at FESPA 2018 was up 48% compared with previous years.

A few growth applications highlighted by the FESPA Census are really gaining prominence within the show. For example, we heard that more than half of businesses today are producing increasing amounts of self-adhesive applications including wraps, vehicle graphics and decals, as PSPs take advantage of continuous developments in digitally printable self-adhesive media. The global popularity of the FESPA World Wrap Masters competition is testament to the growing enthusiasm for these applications.

Interior decor applications – consistently identified as a growth area by the FESPA Census – could be seen throughout FESPA 2018, and of course within the FESPA Printeriors showcase, which captured the attention of visitors in the main atrium entrance to the show.

Exhibitors around the show are seeing more and more customers wanting to diversify into décor applications – for example, self-adhesive and digital print media producer Neschen noted growing interest in their GreenWall wallpaper products, echoing the Print Census findings, where 74% of respondents identify wallpaper as a growth area for their business.

Digital Technology Investment
The FESPA Census research confirms that digital technology investment has been the foundation for business growth, helping PSPs rise to growing customer demand for faster turnaround, short runs and just in time delivery.

Digital production is set to dominate wide format revenues in the future; unsurprisingly then, 44% of all visitors to FESPA 2018 cited digital technology as their primary focus.

The Census also tells us that PSPs are focussing spend on quality control, web to print, cloud-based content management and colour management to ensure customer satisfaction in the face of growing production volumes, and that was reflected in the focus of many visitors to Berlin. Jonathan Rogers from FESPA 2018 exhibitor Onyx observed a strong appetite among visitors for solutions that help them to do more with less, automate processes, reduce costs and boots profitability, all while ensuring high quality and compliance with standards.

Growth of Textile Applications
In 2015, textile printing was the leading application growth trend to be revealed by the Census and today, textile continues to attract attention from PSPs looking for opportunities to diversify.

That’s evident in the fact that 17% of the 700 exhibitors at FESPA 2018 shared textile production solutions, with prominent suppliers launching textile-specific products, among them Mimaki’s end to end textile and apparel printing ‘ecosystem’; Epson’s new MonnaLisa Evo Tre 16 industrial textile printer; EFI’s new Vutek FabriVu 340i printer; and the new NoeCha ROLL2.

The 2018 Census dived deeper into textile printing and found that garment products dominate across all textile businesses, with sports apparel and fast fashion topping the leader board of growth applications.

This made for an enthusiastic market response to the FESPA 2018 launch of Print Make Wear, our new interactive fast fashion feature. 500 visitors registered specifically for Print Make Wear, and almost 1 in 5 visitors to the wider FESPA event also explored Print Make Wear and took advantage of the guided feature tours, a firm indication of the rising levels of interest in garment applications.

Similarly, the new Digital Corrugated Experience was a welcome addition to the event programme, helping PSPs, packaging specialists and brand owners to explore the potential of digital printing on corrugated materials to open up new opportunities in short run production and customisation of packaging and POS displays.

Environmental Demands
The 2018 Census was developed to gather more insight into the importance of environmentally sustainable production. Responses highlighted that environmental investments are heavily influenced by customer expectations regarding sustainable manufacturing and materials.

Several exhibitors emphasised visitor interest in environmentally sustainable products. Frank Mallozzi, Chief Revenue Officer at EFI, told us he had witnessed tremendous interest in the greener industrial textile capabilities of the new pigment ink solution for EFI Reggiani, while Andy Voss from self-adhesive film supplier Lintec Europe reported increased demand for eco-friendly substrates, which he believes is symptomatic of a heightened awareness of issues around sustainability and green footprint reduction.

The FESPA 2018 Print Census paints a positive image of the current state of the industry and that’s reflected in the vibrancy and buzz of FESPA events around the world. Combining our market intelligence with direct inputs from visitors and exhibitors across our global event portfolio, our own observations from each event and those of our national Associations, we have the knowledge and insight to effectively mould future FESPA events to the continually evolving needs and interests of the global print community.

For more insight from our Census, watch this video:

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