Smithers Pira – New report on the European print market

Source: Smithers Pira

UK • In 2016 the printing market across Europe is valued at EUR 159.2 billion, producing the equivalent of some 13.2 trillion A4 prints and consuming just over 68 million tonnes of printing substrates. Packaging represented 44.7% of the market by value in 2011; this rises to 56.6% by 2021.

The European print market is driven from the end-user communication preferences of individuals, who have greater choice in communication with new channels including social media replacing print products. This is severe in newspaper, magazine, book, catalogue and graphic products, less so in packaging where the physical properties of the pack are key.


Print demand is driven by many factors, but the economic environment and advertising expenditure are important. Across Europe there is a great deal of economic uncertainty within the macro-economic landscape and it determines much of the confidence in government, business and individuals, and their ability or wish to spend money on print. Economic uncertainty has plagued Europe since the financial crash and successive Eurozone crises. Governments have tried many strategies from austerity to high spending programmes but uncertainty remains, depressing print expenditure.

Despite the uncertainty, print remains an important communication channel that is competing for the attention of millions of European consumers. The methods of production are developing with new technologies being introduced that change the costs of print production at high quality. Printing remains a large business, with real growth in printed packaging as publication and graphics print declines across Europe.

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