Web to Print Impact on the Printing Industry during Covid

The Covid-19 outbreak has brought massive economic changes, and brought many businesses to their knees. The printing and packaging industry, which relies heavily on human interaction is no exception, but Web to Print seems to be a ray of light within the chaos.

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Cancellations of all major print exhibitions worldwide have led to fear and uncertainty in the industry. Despite the globalization trend of recent years, many printing companies still use the traditional way of doing business offline, where deals are closed in-person.

The printing industry provides services to countless other industries, and when they slow down – printing slows down: Billboards for advertising agencies, leaflets for tradeshows, signage for street stores, menus for restaurants and brochures for travel agencies.

A recent Covid-19 Print Indicators research shows that nearly 80% of print related companies stated that sales were lower in the first half of 2020 than in 2019 (an average of 27.3% sales decline), and only 20% of commercial printers were able to increase their sales year-over-year.

Those businesses that did thrive, despite the massive slowdown in most markets, have taken the crisis as an opportunity. They did so by shifting their business model to be purely digital – with the help of web to print software.

As in-store orders drop, many printing providers opt for the implementation of an online printing store. Similar to other businesses that shifted from in-office meetings to video conferencing via Zoom, Skype or Hangouts, web to print software enables printing providers to display various print product templates on their website, that users can customize and order online. Web to print is not only cost effective, it also enables printers to keep working in times of lockdowns and quarantines.

Developing online printing stores is not a trivial task. While on the internet “what you see is what you get”, the printing world is very different. Web to print software needs to convert pixels to vectors, RGB colors to CMYK, and take into consideration additional elements such as page layout, “bleed” areas, lamination, paper weight and quality, cutting marks, binding and printer drivers.

The future looks bright for web-to-print software, with a market value of $867.3 billion and an estimated growth rate of 7.62% until 2025. This market constantly evolves and advances, now supporting 3D printing technology, personalization options, voice controls and variable data interfaces.

What used to be unattainable 10 years ago is now a thriving business sector. With numerous updates and add-ons, there is a growing demand for web-to-print solutions. While Covid-19 has presented newer challenges to the printing industry, it also created potential opportunities for growth, and made web-to-print a necessity for print providers to not only survive, but to improve their offerings and customer service.