The British Printing Industries Federation, or BPIF, has released its latest quarterly Printing Outlook survey that asks printers how they rate the state of the market. This indicates slight growth in both output and orders over the second quarter with almost half (49%) of printers having increased output in the third quarter of 2014.
A further 29% held output levels steady whilst 23% experienced a fall in output. This marks a year and a half of generally positive results. Furthermore, the next quarter’s output to improve further, with 38% of respondents expecting increased output levels. The majority – 56% – predict stable output with only 6% expecting output to decline in Q4, which is traditionally a busy period for many printers. Overall, this indicates that the general state of trade in the printing industry is improving at a stable if unspectacular rate.
The biggest concern remains other competitors pricing below cost. Concerns regarding the ability of profit levels to sustain required investment levels have grown to become the second ranked concern, while many printers also worry about access to skilled labour. However, costs have remained stable though there’s a persistent squeeze on profit margins. Nonetheless, most printers are capital investment plans remain unchanged, particularly where investment adds product and process innovation.
Kyle Jardine, BPIF Research Manager, noted that 87% of printers reported having better than normal or normal order books for the time of year. He added: “Of course each individual’s perception of ‘normal’ will vary, but it remains clear that – despite concerns over factors such as pricing, profit levels and payment terms – there is some positive sentiment in the printing industry.”
The full Printing Outlook report is available (free to BPIF members and £40 to non-members) from the BPIF website: www.britishprint.com/printingoutlook/