6 Years of drupa Global Trends Report: Printer and Print Technology Investment Plans

It’s been 6 years of drupa Global Trends Reports. Let us take a closer look at the developments of printer investment plans and the printer technology investment plans by market from 2014 to 2019 – and how innovations influence our industry.

From the past 6 years of drupa’s Global Trends Reports we have learned that the key to a successfully thriving printing industry is innovation. But how do those innovations factor into the bigger picture of our industry’s investment plans?
With this article we have focussed on exactly that with a deeper analysis of the printer investment plans and top two print technology investment plans by market from 2014 to 2019.

Finishing Equipment is on the Rise

The developments in printer investment plans have been rather steady over the past years with all of the top three departments being identical every year since 2014 and presenting comparatively solid numbers. Print technology ranks first place with 55% in 2014, going down to 51% in 2015 and recovering to 53% in 2016. However, we do see a change after 2016 with Finishing equipment (52%) surpassing Print technology (51%) in 2017. Ranking second before with 50% in 2014, 48% in 2015 and back up to 50% in 2016, it was always slightly behind. All the while having PrePress/workflow/MIS presenting at third place with consistent numbers like 41% in 2014 and 2015, a slight drop to 38% in 2016 and a recovery to 42% in 2017.
Looking at the developments in those numbers we do acknowledge the drop throughout the departments in 2015 but are also pleased to announce that our industry has recovered fast and, in 2018, even produced the most positive Global Trends Report yet. We see the numbers going slightly down again in the forecast of 2019, especially in print technology falling below the 50% mark for the first time with only about 47% and PrePress/workflow/MIS presenting an all time low of 32%, but we are confident that with new technologies and innovations in our field, those numbers will stabilize again.

Steady Technology Investments

If we look a little closer into the investment plans at the developments of printer technology investment plans by market, we see rather steady investments in Publishing, Packaging and Commercial. While Commercial and Publishing favor Digital cutsheet color, ranking first for Commercial throughout and second for Publishing after 2016. Packaging has Flexo and Sheetfed offset sit in rank one, with Sheetfed offset only surpassing Flexo in 2015 and 2019.

Fast Changing Markets in the Last Few Years

The market most prone to change is functional printing. Probably due to its wide variety of available options and innovations in past years, we see the market changing fast. In 2015 and 2016 we have Digital cutsheet color in first place with 33% and 48% and digital rollfed inkjet coming in second with 31% and 30%. In 2017, Digital inkjet takes over, forcing out Digital cutsheet color completely, with rollfed inkjet coming in first place with 36% and cutsheet in second with 27%. But Digital cutsheet inkjet cannot establish itself in the top two, for in 2018 it is already replaced by Digital inkjet wide format printing with 31%.
We also note some changes in our report in 2019 with only Publishing and Packaging sticking to their favorites, Digital cutsheet color being back in first place for the publishing market. For commercial printing, Digital inkjet (wide format, cutsheet and rollfed) replaces Sheetfed offset on the second rank with 19%. Functional printing experiences a revival of Digital cutsheet color coming in first with 27% and the Digital inkjet options (wide format, cutsheet and rollfed combined) in second place with 23%. Those low numbers once again show the diversity in printing options for the functional printing market.

You’re desperate for more fascinating insights into the developments of printer investment plans? Get the full report or our executive summary.