The impact of COVID-19 on the print industry

COVID 19: Accelerating the need for business transformation in the print industry

Quocirca recently conducted a snapshot online survey between 31st March and 7th April 2020 to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the office print industry. The survey reveals an industry in a state of flux, as print volumes across most sectors are seen to be in steep decline. However, despite the significant impact on their business, there is some cautious optimism among print industry professionals that this crisis presents an opportunity to drive innovation in their products and services.

As working practices move from the office to the home, the pandemic is potentially signalling a faster shift from paper to digital processes. With office print volumes diminishing, and home workers becoming more accustomed to working digitally, vendors and their channel are having to adapt their services. The theme of Quocirca’s recent Print 2025 study – “The journey to digital reinvention” – is even more pertinent today. Survey respondents clearly recognise the need to pivot their business and accelerate the expansion of the cloud, digital workflow and collaboration services.

Study details

Quocirca received 90 completed responses, 33% from OEMs, 56% from channel organisations and 11% from ISVs. Overall, 65% of respondents were from organisations with fewer than 1,000 employees. 44% of respondents were from European organisations, 27% from the US and 29% from other regions. Quocirca is running a second survey so changing sentiments can be tracked and priorities among print industry leaders better understood. Download a complimentary report of the full findings.

Key findings

The office print industry is dealing with immense uncertainty as the effects of COVID-19 on its businesses and the economy become more widespread. The survey revealed the following trends:

  • The industry is experiencing significant business impact. 66% of print industry executives state that the crisis has had a significant impact on their business, with a further 3% indicating a critical impact. However, 21% see the crisis as holding opportunities for them. Overall, almost half (48%) strongly agree that COVID-19 will cause significant ongoing market disruption.
  • The majority have cut costs and put investments on hold. 77% have cut costs, with 14% saying that they have made staff redundancies.
  • Channel respondents expect more support from suppliers. 61% of channel respondents are looking for extended/flexible payment terms from suppliers, with 55% needing more information on supply chain updates.
  • An expected decline in print volumes is being tempered by increased demand in the healthcare and government sectors. Overall, 70% are seeing a significant decline in print volumes, with a further 21% seeing a marginal decline. However, 47% of respondents are seeing increased demand from the healthcare sector, compared to 66% seeing a decline in demand from business and professional service customers.
  • Cautious optimism for recovery. 21% of respondents are cautiously optimistic that business could return to normal in less than 3 months. However, 35% expect it to take 6 to 12 months. 21% expect it to take longer or do not believe that there will a ‘business as usual’.
  • There is a recognition that operating models will have to change. 57% state that they will need to change their operating model going forward. 47% state that they will be bringing new products and/or services to market.
  • An opportunity for innovation. Overall, 79% believe COVID-19 presents an opportunity to drive new product and service innovation.
  • Demand for collaboration and cloud services expected to increase. While 38% anticipate a decrease in interest in MPS, 92% expect an increase in demand for collaboration services and 89% expect an increase in cloud-based digital workflow solutions.

Access Quocirca’s complimentary report of the full findings.

Thank you to all those who took the time to participate in this survey. To enable Quocirca to track trends, please participate in the second phase of this survey which is now open.

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