In its first stakeholder economy survey, FESPA, the European organization serving the print service provider community, reports that wide format printers and their suppliers worldwide are broadly optimistic, expecting business to return to pre-recession levels by mid-2010.
According to FESPA, 14% of its approximately 400 survey respondents are already reporting signs of recovery. Another 23% expect fortunes to improve in the second half of 2009. 25.6% expect improvements by early 2010, with a similar figure anticipating recovery by the end of 2010. Fewer than 12% foresee current trading conditions lasting into 2011. 83% of respondents believe themselves to be well positioned to take advantage of the conditions if the market rebounds.
FESPA, in partnership with the research organization InfoTrends, conducted the electronic survey of some 400 individuals representing printers, manufacturers and resellers during July 2009. The research will be repeated on a regular basis until the FESPA 2010 exhibition next June in Munich. Organizers hope to use these surveys to reliably gauge the mood of the wide-format community.
The survey shows that print service providers are still looking to their operational processes for solutions to falling revenues.76% of printers had developed production-led strategies to address the downturn, with many looking to reduce overheads with lower priced media (35.2%), lower priced ink (28.7%) and by cutting printer maintenance programs (18.5%). Sustainability practices have benefited, however, with 46.3% of respondents having tightened their waste management practices. Flatbed printing technology has also experienced a boost, with 22.2% of PSPs looking to this technology to trim labor costs.
According to the survey, close to half of the repsondents (41.3%) say they have adjusted prices with flexible payment terms, rebates and other promotions in order to boost sales. More than a quarter indicate that aggressive pricing by competitors has been driving their pricing strategy.
Many printers have optimized their product portfolios, or increased their focus on different applications such as textile to grow margins (15.7%) in response to market conditions.Nearly a quarter of printers questioned have implemented fresh sales or marketing strategies, and 12.2% have expanded sales resources to cope with the downturn.