North American print market faces challenges despite worldwide growth

North American print market faces challenges despite worldwide growth
Printing and printed packaging remains an important industry sector in 2019, with a global value of over $826 billion in sales supporting paper and substrate suppliers, ink makers, plate and cylinder suppliers and high-tech printing equipment manufacturers.

The global market for all print and printed packaging output is $826.5 billion, the equivalent of just under 49.5 trillion A4 prints, according to The Future of Global Print to 2024. Through 2024, print and increasingly printed packaging value will grow by an average CAGR of 1.3% through changes in product mix to higher value products with more relevance and value to the final consumer. This results in the printing of just over 2 trillion square meters of substrates, as some is printed both sides, which equates to 281 million tonnes of paper, board and other print substrates.

Despite these global positives, the headlines in the printing trade press related to the North American market are generally gloomy. They report plant closures and declining demand patterns with price increases for ink and paper. At the macro level, there are winners and losers, clearly demonstrated when the CAGRs of print categories and different regions are compared.

In particular, the gap between North America and Asia is widening as Asia leads the value and volume of print. Asia has grown 30% in value and nearly 18% in volume over the past 10 years. In contrast, North America will see a decline of nearly 22% in volume and nearly 5% in value through 2024.

Falling volume is due to declining demand for products where there are online alternatives and through efficiencies in manufacturing and supply chain waste minimization. Value development is ahead of volume due to higher-value products.

Comparing the mature developed print sectors of North America, Western Europe, Australasia, Japan, and South Korea, with the other countries shows great variation, with the more mature graphical and analogue printing generally performing worse than the developing countries and digital processes. Graphics and publishing will fall, though packaging and labels will continue growing across the world, in both volume and value.

Innovative companies are proving there are still major opportunities to succeed in printing in 2019, many investing in new color inkjet presses as the technology is proven to be capable of competing in mainstream markets with analog alternatives, or in hybrid configurations.

Smithers provides regional and global market data and intelligence that will help you make smarter business decisions. Contact us to learn more about The Future of Global Printing to 2024 and other ways we can help your business.

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