As Soyang releases its 2023 printing industry report, we look at some of its most noteworthy UK print industry statistics, compare the findings with other industry data and ask what it all means for your business.
To say the global commercial print market is big is something of an understatement. According to Radix, in 2021 it was worth $433.79 billion. By the end of 2027, the expectation is that it will have grown by a further $50 billion.
But this is the macro picture. What’s happening in the UK? More specifically, what’s happening within individual print businesses within the UK?
That was our launch point for the Soyang 2023 Print Industry Report. You can download it from this page. Inside, you’ll find a wealth of UK print industry statistics that combine to create a clear picture of the UK print sector. In this post, we explore just some of its insights.
Soyang 2023 Print Industry Report: Print businesses are increasing their prices
According to our survey, in the past 12 months 79% of businesses have increased prices for new clients. 86% have increased prices for existing ones.
Every one of those businesses increasing prices did so by no more than 20%. In many ways, it’s astonishing that figure isn’t higher.
Energy prices in the UK rose by 66.7% (electricity) and 129.4% (gas), and yet only a fifth of respondents said energy inflation had had the greatest impact on them. For almost 6 out of 10, the cost of raw materials was even more of a concern, although here too energy prices will have had an indirect effect.
To find out how companies have been mitigating those increased costs, read our full UK printing industry report.
Soyang 2023 Print Industry Report: Sustainability is increasing in importance
You probably won’t find it surprising that sustainability is a major consideration for the UK’s print businesses. 64% said their customers were requesting sustainable products. A small percentage of customers only want sustainable products.
Our findings are consistent with those of the British Printing Industries Federation who, in their latest exploration of UK print industry statistics, found that the global market for print and printed packaging will fall by 15% between 2015 and 2030, but that the value of the market will grow by almost 7% – a change that is, at least in part, driven by sustainability considerations.
51% of print businesses are working on becoming carbon neutral, and that figure doesn’t include the businesses working to reduce emissions without necessarily planning full carbon neutrality. This compares favourably with UK business in general.
In 2021, the Office for National Statistics found that just 38% of businesses said they were taking at least one action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (although we accept there’s more to sustainability than emissions). In its research from 2020, HP found 48% of print businesses were focused on measuring or reducing their carbon footprints. In 2022, Energy Monitor found just 29% of UK businesses had committed to net zero.
Sustainability may not be the only issue of importance to the print industry. In fact, there remains a majority of customers for whom sustainability is a relatively low-level consideration, but the combination of competitor pressure and evolving customer attitudes is likely to see print businesses continue their drive towards sustainability.
Soyang 2023 Print Industry Report: Print businesses are broadening their services
According to our study, 35% of print businesses increased the number of services they offered to customers in the past 12 months. 37% diversified their product offering (as distinct from services).
Even those that didn’t expand their offering took a more proactive approach to upselling customers. 62% said they had been more proactive in upselling, although only 50% had a plan to upsell to existing clients.
Those yet to fully engage with upselling and diversification would do well to consider HP’s take on the situation. It uses the example of interior décor, and quotes figures from Energias Market Research which suggest the global digitally printed wallpaper market is set to grow by 23.6% annually until 2025. HP also considers the rise of content platforms such as Zazzle, which put creativity in the hands of consumers who will still need large format printers to turn their designs into wide format reality.
Ricoh takes a similar view, seeing growth opportunities in custom wall coverings beyond traditional school/office markets.
The right diversification at the right time could not only offer print businesses a valuable way to protect their business’ profitability, but potentially give them powerful new routes into previously unexplored markets.
Explore more UK print industry statistics
Soyang’s 2023 UK Print Industry Report covers a broad range of topics, from how print businesses are building client relationships and growing their businesses, to how they are using marketing, to how they’re reducing costs to increase margins.