IppStar Survey – recovery in the times of Covid-19, results out tonight

Survey of Indian printers, converters and brand owners continued for three days

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IppStar Survey
Consumption in the time of Covid-19 Photo News8Plus via Internet

Over the past dozen days, IppStar has conducted an electronic and phone call survey to know the effect of the Covid-19 lockdown in India on the printing and packaging industry and the perception of the industry’s emergence from this disruption. So far, we have received excellent cooperation and have received just over 190 responses since 2nd May. 

In the past ten days, there have been six holidays, including Mayday and BudhPurnima and the weekends. Still, the IppStar research team of two has persisted in pestering and cajoling responses from what seems to be a reasonably stratified sample of the industry, notably including suppliers and brand owners.

While we first planned to make the results public on 10 May 2020, not only was it a Sunday, but we were busy with other work and now are planning to release the results tonight on Thursday, 14 May 2020.

To share a partial glimpse of the answers so far, many printers are expecting a significant decline in turnover this year, which was expected. Book printers have reported that not only is there no support from the government, but even due payments have not been forthcoming. The full results have almost come and we will share the percentages this evening. This survey will be a strong baseline of industry understanding and sentiment which will allow us to do another survey next month when the government’s measures to help the industry are clearer and perhaps better by the industry. 

The feeling that we are getting is that this is a pretty good survey, based on the respondents sharing all kinds of information with the IppStar researchers. It seems that the questions are both relevant and easy enough to answer. And with over 20 years of face to face research, both the organization and the team are trusted because of their domain knowledge and their confidentiality.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist or a realist?

From the two webinars that I have participated in concerning the print and packaging industry, I have found, on the one hand, wild optimism and the usual stuff about the bright future. There has also been some realism based on how little we know about the potential spread of Covid-19 and its social and economic implications in India.

Overall, many in the packaging sector are looking at their work as a mission. Whether they are optimists or realists, despite the difficulties, they see their partial return to operations as a contribution to the national mission of necessity and revival. There are all kinds of undercurrents such as the prospect of financial help from the government, the costs of hygienic precautions in the workplace, the health and safety of workers, and the rate at which the economy will come back to what is being called “the new normal.”

Give us three minutes of your valuable time. Here is the link to the quick digital survey – https://forms.gle/kzZPvYrYQoT6a9Lb6

IppStar (IPP Services Training and Research Pvt. Ltd) is the leading market research company that provides on the ground and face to face research, training and consultancy to the printing, packaging and publishing industry in India. From time-to-time, we do small web-based surveys supported by our research executives to understand the current scenarios and upcoming industry trends. Since we have probably talked to you numerous times over the past 20 years and asked you many questions in confidence, you can expect a call from our two full-time researchers who may have even met you in the past and visited your plants. This is the first time that they cannot actually travel across the country and come and see you, so it would be good if you can answer our questions online.

Results of the IppStar Survey of brand owners, print & packaging on the recovery from Covid-19

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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