Recovered paper prices – chart of the week

If something is illustrating the current shortage in paper it is the rising costs of recovered paper. The chart shows German recovered paper prices – indexed for 2015 as 100%. China, once the main destination of recovered paper closed their borders for most waste materials in 2018 – which includes most recovered paper. This sent recovered paper prices into a tailspin. The bottom was reached during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020, when everything came to a standstill, at about 20% of the 2015 prices.

Recovered paper prices – chart of the week
Recovered paper prices Germany 2018 – 2021

Since 2021 prices kept on rising steadily – which in hindsight should have been a warning. Since March 2021 prices remained at a record level for at least the last 10 years. I would have wished to attribute this to a rising environmental consciousness level, however quite simply the paper industry is needing all fibres they can get. Mill stoppages due to insufficient raw material supply are already happening and paper is getting pricey and scarce.

There are surely other factors playing into the price as well, as: rising logistics costs, other countries importing recovered paper, a general upturn in the economy, less paper in the system due to lower consumption in 2020, … Yet, this increase in recovered paper prices is mostly a sign of paper companies reducing their fibre and mill capacity too quickly after the Covid-19 drop and now not coping with the rebounding demand for paper. After a low 2020 print volume numbers this poses a great danger for stifling the recovery of the print industry in 2021.

Door drops are dropping – Chart of the week

In many European countries door drops are a huge alternative to addressed direct mail. The DMA just published their 2021 Annual Door Drop Industry Report for the UK. It might not be a huge surprise that door drop volumes and revenues were dropping in 2020 – after all the pandemic forced many businesses to restrict activity and scale down marketing. Yet a 33.6% drop for 2020 is quite drastic.

UK door drop volumes
UK door drop volumes 2016 to 2020

Chart of the week: How print applications fared in 2020

After a lot of speculation, finally the first sets of (real) numbers are out on how different print applications fared in 2020. The German printing industry association (BVDM) just published their 2020 print industry stats. The faint hearted should be warned – it is no pretty picture, however not unexpected.

How print applications fared in 2020 versus 2019
2020 vs 2019 revenue by application – Germany

Overall print revenues declined by 11.5% to €10.8 bn. This is somewhat in the expected range. There are some interesting details in the distribution, however.