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28 May 2021

Printing industry stabilised in Q1

Printing industry stabilised in Q1

Output, orders and confidence to recover in Q2 but cost pressures intensify squeeze on margins.

The UK printing and printed packaging industry achieved a steady balance in Q1 and is expected to take strong strides up the recovery path, with significant increases in output and orders in Q2. To re-cap - the Covid-19 outbreak hit at the end of Q1, Q2 bore the brunt of the impact and whilst Q3 exhibited a recovery, of sorts, Q4 experienced a halt on that recovery path and Q1 saw some moderate improvements as an equilibrium was achieved between the ups and the downs. Fortunately forecasts for Q2 are finally showing the significant improvements that we would all loved to have seen continue six months ago. Now the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are being lifted, more of the economy is opening up and printers are beginning to see more business returning.

The latest Printing Outlook survey reveals that 33% of printers managed to increase their output levels in the first quarter of 2021. One-third (33%) were able to hold output steady, whilst the remaining 34% were adversely affected by a decline in output. The resulting balance (the difference between the ups and the downs) was -1, up from the -9 reported in Q4 2020 and, whilst still negative, well above the Q1 forecast (-24). Output has yet to return to the positive zone (where more companies report an improvement rather than a decline) but a return towards it is promising.

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For more information please contact:
Kyle Jardine
Kyle Jardine
0289 002 0135