A study conducted by Roland DG of more than 340 digital print companies in the UK between 5th and 22nd November 2020 has revealed that despite the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the industry is currently cautiously optimistic about its future.
The study polled digital printers across a range of sectors including sign and graphics, textile and apparel, vehicle and fleet graphics, promotional items and gifts, print and copy services and interior decor. It discovered that their most common three year business goal is increasing their production capacity, with over a third (36%) describing it as their ‘key objective’.
A further quarter (24%) of respondents described ‘expansion’ as their key business objective over the next three years. This includes expanding into new applications or markets with existing devices (9%) or into new technologies/devices such as fabric or UV (9%).
In light of the turbulence over the last six months, another third (34%) of those sampled were focused on digging in and maintaining what the business is currently doing. Encouragingly though, just 3% said they were looking to reduce and rationalise their offerings, and only 4% of those polled expected to close or exit the business in the next 36 months.
Paul Willems, director of Business Development and Product Management, EMEA
says: “We’re living through one of the harshest business environments in history, and yet this data shows that digital print shop owners are determined to look forward, stay positive and seize new opportunities. If ever you needed evidence of the resilience and entrepreneurship that defines our sector, this data is it.”
In a further sign of confidence, the majority of the respondents (51%) indicated that they would replace or purchase at least one new printer, cutter or engraving machine in the next 12 months, with one in eight (13%) planning to replace or purchase two or more machines.
Lewis Pearce at CMYK has purchased four new machines in the last 12 months, including a new Roland TrueVIS VG-540 printer cutter, and moved into bigger premises in Burnley in the last few weeks.
He comments: “At the height of the pandemic, we saw an opportunity to diversify into floor graphics. Six months later, we have printed and shipped 50,000 of them. This has enabled us to come out the other side in a strong financial position. My attitude then and now is that the best way to overcome a challenging economy is to experiment and try new things.”