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Monday, 16 March 2015 | By Gerry Mulvaney


By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing

Interesting figures have been released recently by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the UK, showing a change in the demographics last year which could have an effect on retailers and those in the packaging industry.

It has been reported for a number of years now that there were more single people forming households in the UK, a sort of “Bridget Jones indicator”, where an increasing number of young single people had made the decision to live alone. The latest study from the ONS now shows that the number of single person households fell in 2014 for the first time in a decade, reversing the previous trend of 166,000 down in 2013, but to be fair, still up on the levels in the mid-1990s.

Those people between their mid-20s and mid-40s living on their own has steadily declined, with the boomerang generation moving back in with their parents as a result of housing cost rises. The biggest changes can be seen in older age groups as men are living longer and creating fewer widows! In 2014 the number of over 75s living alone fell by 7% to just over
2 million people according to the Office for National Statistics, good news for us older ones!

Another fact highlighted by the ONS report is that now almost a half of all families have only one child, up 43% from a decade ago and a “significant increase” according to the ONS.

The impact on retailers of course is that the profile of their customer base is apparently in constant change and their target markets are moving just as soon as they get them in their sights. The retailing industry is currently going through some monumental changes, brought about not just by moving demographics, but by competition, falling prices and the effect of the internet. News of store closures by the big four supermarket chains in the UK reinforces this picture of instability and falling profits, while the price war is at least good news for shoppers.

Tackling the Challenge of Changing Demands in the Printing Industry

One of the ways that retailers have been trying to combat the problems has been by getting manufacturers to produce more versions of their products – catering for the single person households, co-habiting couples and families, with different pack sizes and different marketing messages and while this has increased pressure on food manufacturers, it has at least created new sub-divisions of the traditional markets.

Different versions of short run packaging products

Packaging printed in different versions and sizes

The news from the ONS has not changed this pattern; if anything it has reinforced the need for packaging converters to offer more flexibility, shorter delivery times and more cartons and packaging versions to keep pace with the demands from the retailers and food manufacturers.

Later this year, the first of the B1-format (41 in.) Landa S10 Nanographic Printing® Presses will be installed for beta testing by several packaging converters, and the benefits of shorter runs, versioning and personalisation will start to become available to their customers – not a minute too soon if the changing demographics of the recent ONS UK results are to be believed.

Images (main page):

Landa S10 - Printing Press