Amid Structural Challenges, Commercial Printers Find Opportunity in Packaging

Amid Structural Challenges, Commercial Printers Find Opportunity in Packaging

While the US commercial printing industry is forecast to undergo slight declines to 2021, some portions of the sector are expected to escape the broader funk and flourish.

Printing Outside the Box

Demand in the labels and wrappers market is forecast to grow 2.3% per year, supported by rising manufacturing output and attempts by producers to differentiate their products with eye-catching packaging. The strength of demand in this market will provide support to printers offering flexographic and digital print services, the leading processes in packaging applications.

Flexography is projected to record above-average growth over the forecast period, driven by its versatility, low cost, and suitability for printing on pressure sensitive and sleeve labels. In longer print run applications, customers will increasingly prefer flexography over lithography and gravure printing due to its lower cost and lesser complexity.

Digital printing is expected to undergo even faster gains, as it offers the highest level of flexibility in terms of run size and customization. Developments in these trends will continue to track advances in digital printing technology, such as improvements to HP’s Indigo line of presses.

The Digital Double Whammy

Demand for commercial printing services in other applications are expected to undergo mild declines. The rise of digital media dealt simultaneous blows to printers across most key markets, notably the transfer of advertising spending from print to digital media and declines in print periodical circulation as consumers shifted to online media sources.

The digital-media-driven decline in demand arrived concurrently with another structural change: the rise of digital printing technologies, which have begun to displace older, less flexible processes (eg, lithographic and screen printing). Together, these two changes have led to problems with overcapacity that the industry has struggled to shake.

Want to Learn More?

Don’t worry, we have you covered! For additional information and analysis of US industry trends, see Commercial Printing: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group. The report also includes numbers and analysis covering US commercial printing revenue by process and by application for 2006-2016 with projections to 2021. Revenue by process segment includes:

  • lithographic
  • digital
  • flexographic
  • screen
  • other processes.

Revenue by application segment includes:

  • labels and wrappers
  • advertising
  • periodicals
  • other applications.

While you’re there, check out some of our related reports, such as Advertising Services: United States, Data Processing & Hosting: United States, and E-Commerce: United States.

About the Author

Steven Richmond is a Market Research Analyst for Freedonia Focus Reports. He holds a dual degree in economics and international affairs, with experience as an analyst covering multiple industries.