Demand for paper to fall dramatically by 2020, report claims

The Stationers’ and Newspaper Makers’ Company report, entitled Future of Paper and Print in Europe 2008-2020, has analysed demand trends for print and graphic paper grades in western Europe and said its findings are an “alarm bell” for the industry.

According to the report, which was sponsored by Sun Chemical and PaperlinX, total demand for end-use markets is predicted to decline by 32.5% by 2020 – a figure similar to levels recorded at the beginning of the 1990s.

Magazine demand is estimated to decline by 32% as a result of a rise in online publishing and impact on advertising, along with the impact of digital media on the business magazine sector.

The report was researched and written by Richard Harris, principal of pulp and paper consultants NLK Associates. He said: “This is an alarm bell to those in the industry that have been blind to the problems of capacity.

“Many companies will have to re-work and re-think where they are, and one of the aims of the report is to stimulate discussion as opposed to waiting for events to happen.”

However, while Harris added the market was going to get even more difficult for the sector, he said that the paper, print and publishing industries still have time to fight back.

Significant future trends in printing technology are likely to include digital printing processes that move into higher volume segments of the market and even greater digital integration of the creative-to-print interface.

On paper manufacturing, the report said new substrates will be introduced, such as those with intelligent capabilities using RFID inserts or specialised printing, or ones that incorporate nano-technology.

According to Harris, the market that will fare best is the advertising and commercial print sector, where volume demand is forecast to decline by only 14.5%.

The report is aimed at everyone connected with the paper and media industries, and is the first to be launched by the Stationers’ and Newspaper Makers’ Company.

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