By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
The current Mrs. Mulvaney delights in telling people that she is not the sole focus of my affections, despite the fact we have been together for 24 years now. Rather shamefaced I have to agree. We share our marriage with Nottingham Forest Football Club (or “soccer club” as the Americans insist on it), with whom I have been enamoured for over 50 years. My club have been in the doldrums since the late seventies when they won the European Club Championship twice in successive seasons, so life has been a bit gloomy on winter Saturdays in the last few years.
Gerry's other love...
The subject of trends applies equally to football as it does to print. We have been winning our last few games since we got a new Manager after Christmas. If this particular trend continues we could well find ourselves getting promoted to the premier league and playing the glamour clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea in the top division again next season. Of course trends are much better for predicting the past than predicting the future. And next season is just as likely to see us playing in the second division if the trend does not continue.
Trends are a bit more reliable when it comes to print, but they too are based on past signals. I have been chatting about the trends in print with my Landa sales colleagues. This is because I recently received a copy of the presentation that Ohad Axelrod, Landa’s Product Line and Commercial Segment Manager (and incidentally a big Maccabi Haifa Football Club fan), gave at the recent Graphics of America conference in Orlando. The thrust of Ohad’s argument was that demographic changes around the world are seeing the demand for print switch from developed to developing nations. This trend will see more people in countries like India and China accessing the printed word in everything from books to packaging as their living standards improve.
In the developed nations, multiple media such as smartphones, tablets, PCs and TVs are reducing the demand for the printed page. A result of this is the consolidation of some of the larger printers, and pressure for survival on some of the medium sized ones. Ohad’s trends also included the impact of the world recession as well as the growing demand for more sustainable and green methods of disseminating information in the developing nations.
When the Landa sales team discussed the presentation, it was clear that they could see some of the trends that Ohad identified. Joni Lau, Landa’s Sales Manager in China, agreed that there was growth in her area for the reasons Ohad outlined. But she also identified another trend – that of Chinese printers wanting to use locally sourced paper and other substrates partly for economic reasons but also because of the shorter supply chain.
Isaac Castiel, who looks after Latin America for Landa, explained that both Mexico and Brazil were forecasting a 3/4 % growth in their printing industries, in line with the growth of their forecast GDP and printers were investing in equipment to take advantage of this. The packaging industry in Latin America, as a whole, is the segment where the trends forecast the biggest growth. According to Isaac, a significant majority of the Latin American packaging converters were seeing growth of at least 6% in both revenue and profits for 2013.
Technology was the biggest trend for my colleague Kristof Dekeukelaere in the USA and Canada, the sales region he manages for Landa. What he was referring to, was the trend towards increased use of QR codes, image recognition and augmented reality in printed materials and packaging in this mature market. These technologies are combining the printing press with the latest smartphones and tablets to give customers a seamless experience across multiple media.
Me, I am still more worried that my recent trend here in Nottingham will not continue and I will be left with another season of misery and despair. My wife of course is hugely supportive and tells me to pull myself together, reminds me that it is only a game and there is always next season. I guess the trend of the last 24 years will mean I will continue to do as I am told.