Signs of Post-Pandemic Recovery: 8th drupa Global Trends Report

The global economic market has suffered great losses in the last two years. key findings stemming from the long-awaited 8th drupa Global Trends Report reveal inside information about how this affects the printing industry and what its current situation looks like. Furthermore, it also points at the shifts in the sector and the market potentials on a global level.

Since 2013, drupa has conducted market research with the drupa Global Trends Report which provides differentiated insights into the current economic situation and also, forecasts global megatrends. For its 8th edition, we took on board over 500 worldwide print service providers, machine manufacturers and suppliers who allowed us to draw striking conclusions with their participation in our online panel. The findings show that confidence levels are recovering across the globe as economic momentum builds post Covid, but that major socio-economic challenges lie ahead for all.

Global Economic Confidence is on The Rise

Over the past 2 years, the printing world has been afflicted with the pandemic, the global supply shortage, ongoing wars, rising inflation, climate crisis – the list may go on. But as the most recent data shows, the industry is proving its resilience by facing up to these challenges: The industry is on average across the globe a little more confident for the future than when last surveyed in 2019, before the pandemic. The Packaging market is strongest, but Commercial, Publishing and Functional markets all show signs of recovery in 2023.

Globally, there were 18% more printers in the panel who described their company’s economic status as ‘good’ than those who reported it as ‘poor’ in 2022 – a figure that is likely to increase in the following year. A look at the individual markets reveals that confidence is currently highest in packaging printing and the forecasts for commercial and publishing printing for 2022 (compared to 2019) are still more cautious. However, the positive balances indicate that all market segments expect an upswing in 2023, including functional printing. Besides, confidence levels vary from region to region: Asia and South America are optimistic about the future and expect the trade to pick up in 2023 while Europe is being cautious taking the Russia/Ukraine war and its consequences into consideration.

“Raw materials availability, rising inflation rates and rising product prices, declining margins, ruinous price wars between competitors [combine to be the biggest threat over the next 12 months].“

Commercial printer from Germany

Socio-economic challenges are undoubtedly reflected on the global economic market. With regard to it, 62% of Asian printers view the pandemics as the biggest threat whereas they only pose a threat to 51% of European printers. While 32% of European printers consider physical wars as an obstacle, only 6% of those in South/Central America agrees on this. Instead, 58% of them see economic recession as a threat.

Our Printer Barometers 2022 in a Nutshell

The Global Trends Report also analyses the print volume by press type and technology. On the one hand, a large decrease in Sheetfed offset in Commercial has been observed, on the other hand, the drop of Sheetfed offset in Commercial was caught up by its increase among Packaging printers. Nevertheless, Sheetfed offset ranks as the most popular type of investment in all other markets for 2023. In the packaging segment, however, it only follows Flexo in second place. When it comes to the other markets, digital toner cutsheet colour was the second most popular target.

All global regions have chosen their TOP 3 print technology investment targets for 2023. Astonishingly, Sheetfed offset made it to the list as the choice number one with 31% of votes despite its apparent decline in volume of print in particular markets. Up next to the ultimate first choice, printers also plan to invest in Digital toner cutsheet colour, Digital inkjet wide format and Flexo.

Capital expenditure might have fallen globally and across the markets since 2019 for well-known reasons. However, printers and suppliers both reported strong plans for capital expenditure. Moreover, Digital print at 62% and Automation at 52% are foreseen to be the largest long-term (5 years from now) investments.

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, the organizer of drupa, thanks all participants, especially our partners Printfuture (UK) and Wissler & Partner (Switzerland), for carrying out the survey and authoring it on behalf of drupa. The full report in English can be purchased for 499 Euro. The executive summary is available for free in 7 languages: German, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

Which of the data do you find most intriguing? Let us know by emailing us at or feel free to leave a comment below. We cannot wait for your feedback and are already expecting higher participation in next year’s survey, as we are departing together on the road to drupa 2024. 

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