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FESPA Census highlights changing consumer demands

FESPA’s 2023 Print Census has revealed the impact of rising sustainability demands and changing customer requirements

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The 2023 Census by FESPA looks at the issues affecting and the trends shaping the print and graphics industry

FESPA has revealed the headline findings of its 2023 census which highlights the impact of rising sustainability demands and evolving customer requirements on business models and investment plans.

With the last Print Census being conducted in 2018, this year’s study explored the long-term trends that have emerged over the past five years such as revenue and industry outlook as well as future investment and purchasing plans, and business models and strategies.

The Census was conducted in partnership with InfoTrends, a division of Keypoint Intelligence, and saw 1,778 printers and sign-makers from across 120 countries take part. This represented a 26.5% increase from the last Print Census with respondents made up of areas such as graphics (61%), signage (26%), textile (24%), and industrial (14%).

A Positive Outlook

Since 2018, the survey reveals market outlook to be positive with 71% of respondents stating they are optimistic about the future of their business. 

Despite the economic challenges that have taken place across the past five years, respondents are adapting to the changing landscape and finding new opportunities for growth with 7% of respondents reporting a 7% average revenue increase since 2018. 

Increase In Revenue 

When the last Census was published, the mean annual revenue was reported as €4.4m (£3.81m), compared with a mean annual revenue of €4.7m (£4.07m) which shows a €330k (£286k) increase.

Another area highlighted by the 2023 Census is the growing demand for sustainability with the report reaffirming the pressure on printers and sign-makers to be more sustainable continues to increase. According to the Census, 72% of print buyers are requesting environmentally friendly products and practices. 

Addressing Sustainability Demands 

Although perceived cost increases can be a barrier to sustainable production, 70% of respondents said that they can address sustainability demands without increasing prices, with an additional 22% saying they have already raised their prices without feeling an impact on sales.

Customer demand in general is said to be shaping the industry at present with expectations such as quicker turnaround times, more personalization and versioning options, and shorter print runs all having an impact. 

Purchasing Focuses 

Also analysed in the Census were wide-format purchasing plans with printers interested in investing in technology that can streamline production and enable greater application flexibility. UV-curable inkjet (27%), eco-solvent inkjet (18%), and CNC finishing (17%) are the highest priority areas for the 201 respondents who own screen printing and wide-format kit in terms of their purchasing plans.

In line with a focus on technological investments and with multiple responses allowed for this question, 55% of respondents want to enter new markets, 53% are focused on enhancing print quality, and 52% want to reduce the unit cost.

Graeme Richardson-Locke, head of Associations and technical lead at FESPA, comments: “It’s a really positive result to see our community so optimistic not only about the future of our industry, but also about the growth potential of their businesses.

Informed Choices For The Future 

“The survey once again cemented that one of the key challenges printers and sign-makers are currently facing are the ever-changing demands and the growing need for sustainable solutions. Thanks to the responses from our community, we can now develop and evolve our offering to tailor it.”

Richardson-Locke adds: “Above all, we hope that the Census findings will help our community to benchmark themselves against similar businesses globally, and to make informed choices for their future.”

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn. 

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