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Wide-format

How Covid-19 impacted the wide-format industry

One year on, most parts of the world are starting to resume some sense of normalcy, with lockdowns easing and businesses opening to the public once more. The benefit of hindsight is becoming more present the further as we move away from the first wave of Covid-19, and wide-format industry members look back to how the pandemic has impacted the sector.

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The Agfa Jeti Tauro H3300 LED will be the main feature at the firm’s new showroom

Bobby Grauf, sales manager for UK and Ireland and Inkjet Sales UKIE at Agfa, says: “Nearly every industry suffered tremendously due to the pandemic, the printing sector included. Life has changed since the outbreak and is still changing.”

Grauf describes the exhibition sector as one of the most hit during the crisis, but says that despite this, opportunities and new business models have still been created.

Agfa created a new finance system to support its customers and as well as investment in new product development, introduced a number of new finance bundles in Autumn last year. These stand alone from UK government grants and loan schemes and allow print service providers to use all the financial support available.

“The pandemic also highlighted the need for greater local presence,” Grauf continues. “As part of our commitment to the UK printing sector, Agfa invested in a new Inkjet showroom facility in Rugby, Warwickshire, which opened its doors in April this year.”

The Mimaki CJV150-75

The Jeti Tauro H3300 LED will be the main feature at the showroom, as well as the Anapurna LED, Asanti Workflow, and Agfa HealthCare Radiology Solutions.

As well as impacting sectors such as exhibition stands, one impact pandemic had on the wide-format industry was the boom in certain markets such as home décor, personalisation and customisation, and window and floor graphics.

A survey by Roland DG found that 83% of shoppers are more likely to visit shops with clear social distancing, whilst 46% stopped visiting shops with unclear signage altogether.

The HP Latex 700 and 800 printer series use the HP Eco Carton which reduced plastic by 80%

Mike Lewis, channel account manager of HP says: “Retail and exhibitions were hit hardest, and those are big consumers of wide-format digital print and signage, so that had an impact on many print-service-providers.

“But we saw many customers pivot quickly and successfully into the provision of floor graphics, directional signage and also interiors and décor.”

Lewis also believes that the increase in use of health, safety and the environment during the pandemic is a mindset that is “here to stay”, and he reports a rise in uptake of PVC-free, solvent-free and other eco-conscious solutions.

Personalisation and customisation boomed during the pandemic

Martin Southworth, reseller account manager at Hybrid Services adds: “Covid-19 has impacted every area of our lives and the print industry is no different. Businesses that have been able to pivot and use a challenging environment to their advantage have prospered, offering new products produced with alternative workflows and even to new customers, by leveraging the benefits of digital production.

“We have witnessed customers respond rapidly to chancing demands, embrace new opportunities and adapt to shifting customer requirements, and their use of technology has aided this.”

As well as this, Southworth says that having flexibility in wide-format hardware and being able to quickly add new products and services has meant that businesses have been able to continue to thrive in “very challenging circumstances”.

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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