Fourth quarter should see revival in the print and packaging sector

Peter Rego interview

Peter Rego of Heidelberg India
Peter Rego of Heidelberg India

The Indian commercial printing and packaging printing market is facing some challenges but those who want to move forward are doing so, and with the government showing intent to make things better for business, things are already showing signs of improvement, Peter Rego, head of sales at Heidelberg India told Indian Printer and Publisher.

“We feel the fourth quarter of calendar year 2019 will see the market reviving and the first quarter of calendar year 2020 will be the take-off period. There will be volatility and disruptions for sure, but those having a fool-proof business plan will reap a rich harvest in the coming quarters,” Rego said.

Looking at the calendar year 2019, Rego said that the PrintPack exhibition in the first quarter was good for business, which went according to plan. A slowdown in the second quarter was due to elections and uncertainty in the market. However, the third quarter has seen a pickup and things are back on track as per projections for the year, he argued.

Heidelberg India has been constantly interacting with customers and assessing the situation on the economy as well as the printing and packaging industry; according to Rego, there are customers at both ends of the spectrum.

“There are some who feel that there is a slowdown while at the other end there are customers who are going in for big projects and feel that the market and business are getting better. So, honestly, it is quite confusing to give a sure shot answer here. Packaging, of course, has a better potential for growth due to various reasons known to all, but having said that, we see commercial printers too who are quite positive and moving ahead with their projects. So, it depends on perspective and how one sees it, whether the glass is half full or half empty,” Rego said.

Talking about Heidelberg India’s performance during the year, Rego said that in line with the trend seen over the years, a lot of equipment sales happen in the first quarter of the calendar year, then there is a slowdown in the second quarter and it starts picking up in the third quarter. “This year is no different. There could be some turbulence for give or take a month, but overall there is growth potential in the industry. Collections can be a different story, but as far as business, those with a plan are moving forward,” he said.

Rego stressed that both commercial printing and packaging printing can deliver good growth if the customer is focused, concentrates on strengths and innovations, and keeps an eye on the bottom-line and collections. He further added that by the end of the year Heidelberg will close more units as compared to last year, provided there are no major hiccups in the government policies in the next six months.

When asked about new solutions from the company expected in the coming months, Rego said that at Heidelberg innovations are happening throughout the year. “Having said that, we will know more about new products once we get closer to drupe, which is happening from 15-20 June 2020,” he concluded.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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