The latest industry survey from Fespa shows a rising demand for sustainability along with a positive outlook for the future.

The 2023 Print Census, which was carried out in partnership with InfoTrends, a division of Keypoint Intelligence, further explored trends revealed in the analysis of the print industry association’s last Print Census in 2018.

One of the key findings was an increase in customers asking about sustainability, with 72% of print buyers requesting environmentally friendly products and practices. In addition, a quarter of respondents said their customers cared most about sustainable products and 12% identified a focus on sustainable manufacturing, while 36% said their customers cared about both.

“The perceived cost increases are often a barrier to sustainable production, but 70% of the respondents shared that they can address sustainability demands without raising their prices and a further 22% advised that they already raised pricing without impact on sales,” Fespa noted.

Other findings included 71% of respondents stating, despite the challenges of the past few years, they are optimistic about the future of their business. Respondents also reported a 7% average revenue increase since the last census.

“In 2018, the mean annual revenue was reported as €4.4 million, compared with a mean annual revenue of €4.7 million in 2023, showing a €330,000 increase.”

The census also revealed that the industry is being shaped by changing customer requirements for quicker turnaround times, more personalisation and versioning options, and shorter print runs.

“67% of responses showed an increase in the demand for faster turnaround, 58% noted a rise in requests for shorter runs and 56% highlighted the upsurge in interest for more versioning and personalisation, while only 38% noted an increase in the demand for more complex logistic requirements.”

Fespa’s head of associations and technical lead, Graeme Richardson-Locke, commented: “It’s a really positive result to see our community so optimistic not only about the future of our industry, but also about the growth potential of their businesses. The survey once again cemented that one of the key challenges printers and signmakers are currently facing are the ever-changing customer demands and the growing need for sustainable solutions. Thanks to the responses from our community, we can now develop and evolve our offering to tailor it, but above all, we hope that the Census findings will help our community to benchmark themselves against similar businesses globally, and to make informed choices for their future.”

The full 2023 Print Census report is available free of charge to members of Fespa national Associations.