2022 started fairly well in terms of inkjet press activities. It was supposed to be a decent year after the pandemic weighed down on businesses in 2020 and 2021. However, sales/placement announcements dropped off in Q2 and Q3. Finally, Q4 2022 sees inkjet press placements picking up finally. It ties in with printing companies having a more positive outlook again, e.g. in Germany.
For years I keep on collecting sales and placement announcements for production inkjet devices and use those to analyse trends and data. Placements and sales numbers for 2022 show a good start into the year with a decisive drop in activity in Q2 and Q3. However, Q4 showed a significant rise in numbers, easily surpassing even Q1 2022. Keep in mind that Q4 has not even ended, so there might be a few more units to add.
The lower activity in the mid of 2022 could be caused by a lack of components and supply chain issues mounting in 2022. This has been confirmed by industry analysts and vendor information. It seems that companies are getting a better handle on it now.
Continuous feed (CF) inkjet remains the main driver in the market and accounted for the largest number of installations again. B1 and B2 cut-sheet presses had a good year, with a bit more even distribution across the year. B3 inkjet presses had a very strong second half of the year, although these devices, not being as expensive as the two other categories, are more likely to fall through the grid.
2022 has not been the year many hoped for in the beginning. War in the Ukraine, supply chain issues, and energy price rises did throw a spanner into many plans. The ad market is surely no exception and the high growth expected had to be downgraded in the year-end reviews coming out now. There were some notable exceptions however as small publishers and traditional media were benefitting in the 2022 ad market climate.
Magna, the central planning unit of global advertising behemoth IPG Mediabrands published its year-end outlook a few days ago. It had some surprising findings. According to Magna’s analysis, the top 15 media suppliers’ share of the global ad marketplace actually contracted two percentage points in 2022 to 58% (and this is not just down to Elon Musk wrecking Twitter). Both, the share for the 3 largest advertising media channels as well as the share of the following 12 largest providers declined, although it does not show all in the chart due to rounding. In any case, it is remarkable as it is the first time that the concentration in the ad market paused!
The German Federation of the Printing Industry (BVDM) is publishing a monthly overview of the current state and business outlook of the printing industry. November 2022 survey data has just been published and it shows that the printing industry seems to be finally pulling out of the depression that started in early 2022.
The survey data covers the current situation, a short term and a long term outlook. Especially the long term outlook for the next six months (Geschäftserwartungen – grey line) showed a strong recovery. Also, the short term outlook (Geschäftsklima – red line) had a 6% upswing, indicating that conditions already start to improve. On the current business situation (Geschäftslage – blue line) remains almost unchanged. All indicators remain in the negative, however.
In the media and advertising world in Germany the decisions of major supermarket chain Rewe and home improvement store chain Obi that it is time to ditch their flyers made headlines recently. Both are a staple in the post boxes or are distributed as inserts in newspapers or free magazines. Instead, both companies announced that they will be focussing on digital channels in the future.
Both companies cited as main arguments for ditching the flyer environmental concerns. This might be true, although none cared to make a calculation of the environmental impact of replacing print with digital media – nor mentioning that they considered making their print products more environmentally friendly.
The true reasons are likely cutting costs (possibly tied in with the high paper prices) and the belief that customers are better served by digital. It might as well be the perennial urge in retail/marketing to jump on the latest bandwagon.
The catch might be whether customers will follow. The Austrian Post made an interesting end user survey in 2019 on, among other factors, which advertising channels are consulted before making a purchase and which advertising channels are the most amiable (in lack of a better translation of the German word “sympatisch”). Displayed are selected results for the category of groceries.
Flyers, or small catalogues, tick both boxes in being consulted most often and being the most amiable/likable/pleasant – by a wide margin. Digital channels rank much lower, especially on the likeability scale. This is certainly down to the more mundane nature of groceries as most people do not consult the web before buying a pack a bottle of milk. Both companies are not selling high-tech products, rather products of daily living. Flyers are still the easiest and best inspiration in this category, even for younger buyers. It might be a premature time to ditch flyers.
In a world that is moving to electronic media, one of the biggest strongholds of printed news is its credibility. Even in a media wary environment this is being confirmed again and again. Should a newspaper not rather bank on that trust than undermine it? If the online edition of a renowned newspaper changes their headlines to get more views, is this already clickbaiting?