The start of 2019 is clouded with uncertainty: Brexit in the UK, coupled with a global economic slowdown. But there are pockets of growth in the print industry, and the market uncertainty will also bring with it great opportunities.

Here at Stag Print, we are excited to see how the year pans out.

Here are the top five trends we expect to see in 2019:

  1. Printed paper packaging will continue to flourish: Paper continues to be seen as the environmentalists’ material of choice for packaging. It’s the most natural packaging material and the easiest to recycle. Stag Print has invested significantly over the last five years in developing this as a core capability, and we expect this to be our key growth area. We anticipate supporting more and more start-ups as they take their products to market.
  1. Direct mailing will grow: Last year saw the introduction of GDPR. The data protection regulation that rattled every business no matter how big or small. So how will companies now market to their customers? Direct mail is not regulated in the same way as email marketing, and as the dust settles on the initial shockwave, we expect to see a significant rise in direct mailings.
  1. The rebirth of printed flyers, leaflets and vouchers: Some forecasts are suggesting up to 80% of retail will be done online by 2030. Whether this scale is achievable or not, one thing is for sure, online purchasing and home deliveries are growing very quickly! Each time a parcel is delivered it contains marketing print from other online retailers trying to entice you to try them. Once seen as a thing of the past, we anticipate strong growth in the production of flyers, leaflets and vouchers.
  1. Paper price increases will finally slow: For three years we have seen around a 5% increase in paper prices every three months! In 2016, Brexit and the fall in the British pound started things. In 2017, China announced a ban on mixed waste paper imports and increased regulation on recovered paper imports – this resulted in a huge increase globally in the demand for virgin pulp. As the full impact of this change has taken effect, and as the Chinese economy grows less quickly, we predict these pressures will stabilise and price increases will slow.
  1. Print businesses will consolidate: As with many industries, mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity in the print industry is cyclical. As the economy slows, M&A activity grows. The fittest survive and weaker companies either merge or are acquired. As the uncertainty around Brexit takes hold, we forecast that many print companies will merge or be acquired.

Here’s to 2019!