Research: Print volumes falling fast

Research conducted by pulp and paper analysts Industry Edge says the light at the end of the tunnel for struggling commercial printers is still a way away, the report finding slumps in paper consumption have hit traditional print the hardest.

The report described commercial printers in Australia as ‘in trouble’ and says the latest data demonstrates that ‘traditional printers remain under severe pressures as demand for printing and communication papers continues to fall’. 

Industry Edge says plunges in demand during the last two years were heavily skewed towards grades of paper and sectors that are entirely dominated by commercial printers. Total demand slumped 6.2 per cent in 2015 and 2016, falling a mammoth 73,400 tonnes compared with the prior period.

The results of its Pulp and Paper Strategic Review for 2016 found the largest dip in demand was experienced by directory and lower quality catalogue papers, falling almost 10 per cent over the course of the year.

[Related: Big businesses dump paper]

“At the heart of the decline is falling demand for printed media, in all its forms," says Industry Edge.

“There is little doubt that digital printing – especially the at home and small office type – is impacting traditional printers. What was once printed commercially is now often printed privately."

However, a small upturn in demand for high quality magazine and catalogue paper brings a spark of hope for traditional printers, with a modest 0.8 per cent jump – or 376,000 tonnes – in demand for 2015 and 2016.

The upsurge in catalogue paper comes as print giant PMP revealed to investors it has pinned its future growth on the flourishing catalogue sector.

Industry Edge notes the findings on paper consumption does not take into account the plummeting demands for newsprint.

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