Global Print is in Good Shape: 6th drupa Global Trends Report

Welcome to the 6th drupa Global Trends Report 2019 – providing great insights into the current situation in the printing industry, as well as an overview of economic and market-related trends.

6th Global Trends Report

Like last years’ drupa Global Trends Report, the 6th report provides differentiated insights into economic and market-related trends and gives an overview in the current situation of the printing industry. The survey conducted in October 2018 had nearly 850 participants with a good cross section from most regions and markets. We circulate two separate surveys, one each for printers and suppliers. 620 printers participated, 358 of them come from Europe but also the rest of the world was covered. When it comes to suppliers, we had less participants who nevertheless allowed us to draw important conclusions.

Good News: Print Globally is Doing Well

Global print is in a good shape overall. Most of the global indicators have climbed over the last five years (you can track the development with the previous versions of our drupa Global Trends Report). Approximately 40% of the printers rate their company as in a ‘good’ condition. Only 13% described it as ‘poor’. Of course, there are some regions performing better than others. There’s a greater market strength in the sectors packaging and functional printing and a minor market strength when it comes to commercial and publishing. In general, the printing industry shows confidence despite the impact of digital media and the global recession.

Short Overview of Our Printer and Supplier Barometers 2019

The strongest market sectors clearly are packaging and functional. But there is a dip in confidence amongst commercial printers after several years of rising sales. The current net balance is about +20% while it was +31% last year. Suppliers share the printers’ confidence in packaging and functional markets. Ever since they were included in this study, they have shown increasing economic confidence every year, from +18% in 2014 to a remarkable +53% in 2017. This year the net balance fell by 25 percentage points. The forecasts for next year were on balance more cautious than last year, albeit still positive in all cases.

A surprising trend is the expanding functional sector, showing a negative net balance for margins and prices whereas packaging yields positive results.

For the first time, suppliers were able to report a global net positive balance on prices although they were still under pressure on margins.

Performance of Conventional and Digital Print

With regard to conventional print, run lengths and lead times have been slumping continuously whilst the number of jobs continues to climb. For digital print, run lengths increase, lead times decline and the number of jobs rises inexorably. Yet the proportion of turnover that is digitally printed is slowly changing. 23% of the printers reported digital print to be responsible for more than 25% of turnover in 2013, rising to 29% in 2018.

During our study for this year’s Global Trends Report, we asked participants to answer open-ended questions on the opportunities they expect and the threats they face. All in all, these questions reveal that skills shortages are becoming more important.

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, as the organizer of drupa, thanks all participants, especially our partners Printfuture (UK) and Wissler & Partner (Switzerland), who helped authoring and conducting this survey.

For everyone who wants to get more details, the full version can be purchased for 249,00 Euro at Messe Düsseldorf. The executive summary of our drupa Global Trends Report 2019 is available in German, English, Spanish, French, Russian and Chinese.

We are always looking for dialogue with our readers, so we would be very pleased to receive any feedback via email to or in the comment section below.

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