Following the recent health, economic, energy and supply crises, the print industry faces the challenge of adapting to the new environment. Keeping up with global changes is essential to the future success of the company’s products and services.
A summary of four key industry trends has been developed by GM Technology to understand the upcoming challenges facing the print market and where it is headed.
Print volumes are declining
Supply chain problems over the past year have resulted in a general decline in print device sales in 2022. International Data Corporation reports that this decline fell below 17 million.
Data published by the company indicates that, although inkjet printing sales increased in the last quarter of 2022, overall sales decreased by 5.7% in the first three quarters of that year.
In contrast, the laser printing market posted weak growth, increasing sales by only 0.2%, as some brands were able to maintain adequate inventories.
In addition, IDC provides information about print market trends in major European countries. Based upon its report, the German market increased by 0.9 percent, the French market decreased overall, the UK market showed a clear decrease in both the inkjet and laser segments, Italy only experienced an increase in the laser segment, and Spain experienced a contraction in both the inkjet and laser segments.
While overall sales declined in 2022, all countries recorded an improvement by the end of the year, indicating a trend towards recovery by 2023.
Although print volumes are declining globally, the hybrid working model and digital transformation are creating new print-related demands.
The role of MPS for home office and remote working
As a result of the COVID crisis, hybrid and remote working have grown in popularity since 2021. Although the labour market has recovered and most employees have returned to work, many companies and organizations have decided to maintain this format to ensure flexibility and convenience.
To implement remote and hybrid work effectively, companies must manage their employees’ home printing in an efficient, simple and secure manner. Hence, the Managed Print Service (MPS) comes into play, a tool that companies are increasingly requiring to manage, control, and optimize all the printers in their fleet.
There is no doubt that the MPS service offers the convenience of having printers available at all workstations within a company, including the homes of remote employees.
Moreover, all devices in the fleet can be managed by automatically sharing information and data, which facilitates workflow optimization, increased productivity, and energy and cost savings for the company.
The MPS service offers another advantage in that it often includes a personalized technical support service as well as a system of automatic consumable replacement alerts, which ensures that the company receives all the cartridges it needs directly at the home of the employee who works from home.
Even though, as seen above, the global macro trend indicates a decline in printed copies, the MPS model is on the rise.
Automation of print management systems is an advantage that significantly improves the work routines of both employees and businesses in an increasingly flexible, digitized, and remote work environment.
Security is a must when it comes to printing
To protect sensitive information and the flow of data, new and higher levels of security are required as digitised and automated printing solutions become more prevalent in the workplace.
Network-connected printers provide instant, easy, and flexible printing capabilities. It should be noted, however, that the connections between these computing devices via Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB also pose a potential security risk.
Purchasing printing equipment will require specific security tools and technologies, such as secure applications, device certificates, encryption, and multi-factor authentication.
It will be important for print device and EPS vendors to be able to offer and implement additional protection measures for the print infrastructure, such as multi-layered security solutions.
The priority is sustainability
As printing tasks evolve toward digitisation and automation, and paper consumption decreases, there is also a trend towards sustainable and environmentally friendly printing practices.
As consumers become more aware of the negative effects of waste and pollution, they are shifting to products that can be reused, remanufactured, repaired, and recovered.
To encourage the entry of more circular products with a lower environmental impact on the market, the European Commission has been working on measures to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
Aside from establishing specific green procurement criteria for imaging equipment and consumables, it has also encouraged the procurement of green printing services by public administrations.
As a result of its actions to restrict the circulation of single-use plastics, its directives and regulations preventing hazardous substances from being used (RoHS, REACH, CLP and WEEE) and its proposed green regulation for sustainable products, the EU has outlined a roadmap that indicates a clear trend towards environmentally responsible consumption.
Due to this, as well as customer, supplier, and investor demands for greater environmental responsibility, sustainability will become a key element of corporate strategies within the printing industry.
Quocirca‘s Future of Work Spotlight on Sustainability 2025 report indicates that two-thirds of companies surveyed (66%) deem it extremely or very important for print providers to be leaders in sustainability.
This results in increasing demand for managed print services, with all the environmental benefits they offer, and a strong focus on cloud-based print services, which help organizations to optimize print costs and save energy, thereby reducing their environmental impact.
To further reduce pollution, sustainable printing will also involve the use of second-hand or remanufactured printing devices and toner cartridges.
To move human activity towards a circular economy model, the main objective is to reduce waste, reuse resources, and extend the life of products. Companies offering sustainable printing solutions will be able to add value to their businesses by providing both environmental benefits as well as benefits to their partners, collaborators, and customers, making it easier for them to remain environmentally friendly and environmentally responsible.