Midlands-based reprographics partner to the label and packaging sectors, Creation Reprographics, has commented on the upward market trends the business has identified and outlines areas of focus that are likely to accelerate in 2021.
Matt Francklow, Managing Director at Creation Reprographics, comments: “It’s extremely encouraging to see that the label and packaging industries have used the challenges of 2020 as a springboard for growth and innovation.
“For 2021, volume, quality and the need for speed to drive flexibility and agility will remain front and centre for printers looking to meet the latest demands of their brand customers. Consumers, irrespective of panic buying, have also changed shopping habits during the various lockdowns. They are valuing hygiene and safety more than other previous needs and with shopping online particularly in the grocery category, are frequently reverting to old shopping habits buying more in bulk and less often. This behaviour is very different to previous years where consumers were making multiple small shopping trips to optimise their budgets. To this end, we expect technologies that focus on very short print runs to take a back seat for the time being.
Both from a cost and sustainability perspective, brands and their supply chains continue to need to make best use of resources and eliminate waste from the packaging design and printing process. We are therefore seeing the benefits of workflow digitalisation take on a refreshed role as a necessity, not a ‘nice-to-have’. It’s an ideal time for printers to take an objective look at their operations and find which areas are not keeping pace with the business. We’re also seeing an uptick in the use of digital approval systems supporting the new home working norm and keeping brand and product launches moving.
“We’ve also noted a renewed attention to the benefits of water-washable flexo plates. As ethanol was diverted to sanitisation and solvent prices rose as a result, some printers took the opportunity to bolster sustainability efforts by removing solvents from the equation altogether. Our experience has been that printers making the switch to water-washable plates are finding higher quality and reduced make-ready, which has been a real advantage. Clearly, the sustainability benefits speak for themselves and as the environment returns to the top of the agenda, those printers that are investing in eco-technologies will see themselves with a distinct competitive advantage.
Matt also commented on the impact of the ongoing surging online retail situation: “At its peak, e-commerce sales represented 38% of all retail sales. This has now softened to about 28-30% but is still significantly higher than 2019, creating new challenges for both brands and retailers in managing supply and standing out on screen, not just the traditional shelf! Grabbing attention in an omnichannel retailing environment is not easy and as such we are seeing a strong upswing in demand for premium coatings and finishes to drive product appeal. Perhaps counterintuitively, we are also becoming more tactile as consumers – not less. When fairly simple and cost-effective processes such as hot foiling, matt finishes or embossing make such a big difference, it’s clear to see that 2021 will be another year of great creativity in the industry.”
Creation Reprographics is a full pre-press reprographics partner to the packaging and labels sector. With a dedicated team of packaging experts, the team specialises in helping printers of every size turn great design into outstanding on-shelf and on-screen appeal.
Visit creation-repro.com/ to learn more.