In 2019, these print shops will generate total online sales of € 8.10 billion. This is about one third of the total turnover of the printing industry in the D/A/CH region. In 2018 the figure amounted to € 7.85 billion. And for 2020 the Market Research department of zipcon consulting has calculated revenues of € 8.74 billion. This corresponds to an average growth rate of 7.5%. Zipper’s forecast for market development in D/A/CH: B2C will grow by 7.1%, B2B by 8.5%.

The top 5 online printers Cewe, Cimpress (with the respective national shareholding), Flyeralarm, Onlineprinters and United Print generated total sales of € 1.7 billion in 2019 with an average growth of 9.5%. Of course, this also includes the sales generated in the different country shops in Europe. The big players are growing through new offers (LFP, advertising media, niche products) and at the same time the price war continues to put pressure on suppliers of standard products. Commodities are, after all, printed products with which the lowest earnings can be made.

According to Bernd Zipper’s figures, the climate for online printing in Europe is generally positive, with the markets in France, Spain, Italy and the Baltic States developing particularly well. Brexit is boosting print sales in the UK, while metropolitan areas are already successful, with network infrastructure and 4G/5G coverage being key success factors. At the same time, a new type of printed product is emerging: social media print. This means that content from Instagram, WhatsApp or Facebook histories and other social media are now also being printed.

What trends are to be observed?

In addition to the trends mentioned at the beginning, the megatrend mass customization stands out in particular. “Yes, of course mass production sales will continue to exist,” admitted Zipper. “But there is a paradigm shift now that small print runs have become affordable through high-speed inkjet and web-to-print. In addition, a generation is growing up with a high sensitivity for mass customization solutions”. Digitally triggered print products for one-to-one marketing in small print runs, including intelligent logistics concepts, are also part of the megatrend of individualization. This could even open up a new service for the industry.

But online print must also understand that in the course of individualization, every customer must be reached in his or her own channel in e-commerce, so that new sales can be developed during the upcoming paradigm shift, Zipper warned: “Because today we are dealing with multi-optional customers. “The” customer no longer exists.” In addition, the simplification of complex processes could lead to the development of lean online shops. Many processes would migrate to the cloud and the costs would be more justifiable than the purchase via click rate, rent or other contract models.

And according to Bernd Zipper, this is the new DNA for print: “Lean. Agile. Virtual. Cooperative. Platforms connect providers, intermediaries and end customers. Print becomes agile, print becomes individual, print becomes modern. Not least through the achievements of online print.”