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2021 Print Industry Trends in the Age of COVID-19


Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "2021 Print Industry Trends in the Age of COVID-19," is an update to print industry trends for 2021 as markets adjust, employees return to work, and businesses press to reopen a significant percentage of their companies. The new print industry trends can help marketers and brands continue to deliver their messages while cutting through double-digit increases in online traffic, pent-up demand, and general uncertainty. While many organizations are coping, they cannot afford to standstill. The pandemic has taught us that no one is immune from the ravages of Covid, and companies must continue to adjust their strategies and tactics to accommodate new and shifting buyer behavior.

From an industry standpoint, according to ReportLinker, "The Global Commercial Printing Market was valued at USD 411.99 billion in 2020, and it is projected to be worth USD 472.35 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 2.24% during the period 2021 - 2026. The commercial printing market is poised for remarkable growth over the next five years." The print market forecast is exceptionally bright, extending to commercial printers a lifeline amid all things digital."

Our Quote of the Day:
"The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress." – Charles Kettering

We've presented many trend reports in this blog, from digital to social media to print, human behavior traits, and more. However, we began this year by identifying technological advancements manifested in ways that can make a lasting impression on the consumer and industry sectors.  That said, these are the trends driving marketing tactics and strategies in 2021, despite COVID-19.

Technological Proliferation

According to the Commercial Printing Market - Growth Trends, COVID-19 Impact and Forecasts, (2021 - 2026) report; "Technological proliferation, along with rising applications, is anticipated to encourage print demand globally. Further, the need for short-run production for a wide range of applications is increasing rapidly for commercially printed materials, such as books, direct mail, brochures, and catalogs. For instance, in direct mail, the conventional practice was to send the exact same message to many customers. It is expected that 72% of corporations will utilize direct mail campaigns. Direct mail campaigns are relatively inexpensive and are a great way for companies to keep their image and services in the public eye. This aspect of printing is expected to continue an upward trend in the future."

The report also states that increased demand for promotional materials from the retail, food, and beverage sectors drives the marketplace.  In addition, several promotional activities such as print advertising are also driving the commercial printing market.  Further, retail organizations with a deep understanding of their target markets now include print advertising as part of an overall marketing strategy.   Add to that; a recent Adobe poll consisting of 1,250 US consumers highlighting an ongoing challenge linked to online or digital promotions being unable to capture engagement, attention, and response rates stated print-based ads are garnering increased consumer attention.

Printing Security

While coronavirus has increased internet usage, the FBI recently issued a warning in 2020 regarding the use of Zoom, a video conference app that allows users to conduct online meetups.  According to Wired Magazine, Dennis Johnson fell victim last year to a new form of harassment known as 'Zoombombing,' in which intruders hijack video calls and post hate speech and offensive images such as pornography.  It's a phenomenon so alarming and prevalent that the FBI issued a press release warning people of the threat.

Even though the Biden administration has issued new sanctions against Russia for various cyberattacks on the US infrastructure, cyber criminality continues to rise and can attack anyone and everyone.  The printing industry, like others, is not exempt from cyber malfeasance.

Cybersecurity is a must-have for print providers who protect their print services and products. Securing sensitive data for customers is of paramount importance, and therefore organizations must take care to implement cyber-secure programs to guard against tampering or hacking.  Document security needs to be front and center as the primary focus for the print industry, now and in the future.  Commercial printers will benefit by ensuring a robust data security infrastructure.  Printers who promote a secure data component as part of their offerings can extend to customers a higher level of security for critical/confidential documents such as HIPPA, ID cards, exam reports, and other sensitive information.

Print Sustainability

As the discussion heats up regarding climate change, the idea of a sustainable planet is generating a need for businesses to adopt an Eco-friendly mission.  The print industry is also under pressure by consumer demands to incorporate Eco-friendly printing methods.  One could assert that the 800-pound gorilla in the printing industry room acknowledges an environment that is becoming more unlivable by the day.  Brands can no longer view print sustainability methodologies as optional.  The Millennials and younger generations are keenly aware of the challenges earth's sustainability presents, albeit put forth in part by Greta Thunberg.

The good news, low-carbon printing capabilities are already underway.  To that end, HP has taken the challenge of initiating low-carbon printing.  The goal of HP's project is to reduce environmental impact. We will have to wait and see if other companies take up this initiative.

Consumer Eco-friendly conscious concerns will play a considerable role in mandating a boycott of the companies that fail to initiate Eco-friendly policies.   With so many places on earth burning and with 2020 recorded as the hottest year on the planet, the planet's near-term sustainability is set to increase consumer awareness.  It will impact companies that fail to adopt an Eco-friendly policy.

The E-commerce Affect

E-commerce has been on the rise for several years and now is a global trend in and of itself.  You may be wondering why E-commerce is even on the radar as it relates to the printing industry.  Believe it or not, print vendors can forge opportunistic growth in the E-commerce stratus sphere.  Print companies that invest in and set up or partner with an e-store can offer consumers the opportunity to purchase print products online.  A combined offer extended online, in print, and at brick and mortar can unlock a new customer base.  The larger the consumer pool, the higher the potential for sales growth. Therefore, any print provider who takes the E-commerce plunge will rise above competitors that fail to do so.

Print on Demand

Print-on-Demand has a trend of its own, and to that end, print on demand is rising more and more as each year passes.  More importantly, more and more e-commerce store owners partner with print suppliers, investing in the E-commerce trend. What does this mean? The ability to print custom orders from your e-store will result in more profits from a new revenue stream.  In addition, by offering print-on-demand services for e-stores, printers will increase the revenue stream.

If you notice, the iconic players in e-commerce are now inviting print-on-demand services as part of their e-stores offerings.  Commercial printers should be frothing at the mouth to nail down a successful e-store that offers an installed base of customers.

Digitized Processes

Digitization has been on the scene for several years and is increasing in every industry. That said, the print industry as a whole lag embracing digitization as a competitive offering. Digitization provides methods to streamline how customers access a print vendor and perform certain functions, such as scanning and storing documents using their smart devices.

Further, these customers can send their documents to print suppliers for print jobs whenever they need to initiate a job request.  This process serves as a more efficient method that reduces waste while simultaneously providing the ability to print what's essential.  More importantly, this digital method reduces the requirement for inventory management.

Immediate Reach In the Age of COVID-19

Under the coronavirus umbrella, emails and internet usage is spiking. With millions more now quarantined at home for more extended periods, the idea of being able to cut through digital clutter is much more challenging.  Brands and marketers alike should take advantage of print's direct mail capability.  This form of marketing ensures that customers and prospects receive the messages and see and read the marketing messages.  On that premise alone, print's direct mail marketing is rapidly becoming more valuable.

The Net-Net

These print industry trends are continuing to evolve.  However, printers and marketers willing to step out of their comfort zone will find that these trends can make all the difference in 2021.  Digitalization, AI, IoT, Print on Demand, eCommerce Integration, Print Security, and Print Sustainability are methods that commercial printing vendors can utilize to garner more revenue and increase brand equity.

Now, in the age of COVID-19, print becomes a precious asset for delivering messaging content to physical mailboxes where those communications will be seen and read and are unable to be hacked. We hope you enjoyed this article and thanks for reading "2021 Print Industry Trends In the Age of COVID-19!"

Let's have a conversation about integrated business solutions and how they can help grow your business, change behavior, and improve the customer experience.  Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization's printing, letter shop, and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct does have an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. We can even create a demo file for you. 

For more information, call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider, offers organizations end-to-end data, printing, and mailing solutions:

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If you don't want to wait, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the Contact Form for Dove Direct.

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