UK Regional Development Fund
“We certainly think the UK market is more buoyant than it has been”, says DPM’s Tim Pawley.
The big change expected to roll through into 2014 is the growing confidence both in the UK and abroad, helped with the stimulus of government schemes.
“I think in the UK, we are seeing some customers have been able to capitalise of government incentives – particularly RGF (regional growth fund) grants. Not enough has been made of that,” he said.
The scheme, which helps businesses fund growth plans that meets certain criteria such as protecting jobs, has helped around 2,700 SMEs access £800m in lending so far.
That, coupled with recent good news on economic growth from the chancellor, Pawley is hoping will focus the minds of printers that have “been teetering on the brink of buying” but held out during the grip of recession.
In some ways the recession has had positive impacts for those that have survived. For one thing, it’s not just the banks that have been pushed towards having a stronger balance sheet.
“Most buyers we are seeing are pretty well qualified,” said Pawley. “The companies out there are better off cash-wise as people are learning that need to be in order to access funding.”
Farther afield, and Pawley says the bulk of DPM’s business remains in the export market, Latin America and most obviously China and the rest of Asia continue to show the strongest demand and are likely to do so through 2014. Other regions are also showing signs of activity such as Thailand – a market that had previously been very busy but of late had died back.
In terms of application packaging looks set to be a safe and growing bet – with interest high in areas such as UV. “There has been a trending towards packaging, particularly UV, where companies are looking for add ons to help sell products.”
Digital is also likely to grow, although its impact on the secondary markets is difficult to forecast with some manufacturers less enthusiastic in supporting these markets than others. Additionally, printers looking to set up in digital need to go beyond simply adding a digital press to cater for passing trade, to setting up a standalone division after assessing what the market demands.
2014 will also be remembered as an Ipex year, and not one that hasn’t had its fair share of problems, losing some household names in the industry from its halls. Although with 80% of the 42,000sqm space sold it’s not likely to feel empty.
It’s still too early to say what impact this will have on visitor numbers – both domestic and international – but Pawley maintained that the show remains very important for DPM to meet their UK customer base.
In conclusion, 2014 looks like many of the dynamics of the market in 2013 will remain in place, but it’s likely to be a growth year. However the focus will be on the quality rather than the quantity of customers.
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