Are offset press sales leveling off?

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

The last several years have been extremely difficult for offset press manufacturers. Driven by electronic substation, short run economics, and continued uptake in personalization press sales have declined dramatically.  But are we at the bottom of that decline or is this just the calm before the storm?

To try to get a handle on sales of offset presses I did some research and looked at revenue figures for sheetfed and web offset press sales from 2008 to 2015 for the leading manufacturers. (Services and other revenue streams were not counted) For sheetfed I totaled up revenues from Heidelberg, KBA, manroland and Komori. And for web offset I looked at figures from Goss, KBA, manroland, and Komori.  The manroland and Goss figures from 2008 and 2009 are estimates as press sales figures were hard to break out.

The data shows overall sales for the companies mentioned declined by 33% from €5.6 billion in 2008 to €3.8 billion in 2015, with even steeper declines in North America and W. Europe.  However sales from 2013 to 2015 were relatively flat.


Offset sales3

During that time sales of digital printing hardware were growing and now globally Caslon estimates the value of just color and monochrome print engines sales at greater than €4.5 billion.  And for digital print vendors revenues from service, toner, and inks is double to triple the print engine revenue – a revenue stream that offset press manufacturers have not enjoyed with their equipment.

Does this mean the offset press industry has bottomed out?  I don’t think so. Page volumes are still dropping and as millennials replace baby-boomers shifting demand away from paper and so it doesn’t look like demand has bottomed out yet.

And then there’s the next generation of digital printing technology on the horizon. New inkjet technology from Canon, EFI, Fujifilm HP, Kodak, Konica Minolta, Landa, Ricoh and Xerox are all aiming at taking substantial print volumes from offset in both production and packaging segments.

While offset press manufacturers missed out on digital technology during the first wave of products it looks like most will get a second chance at the growing digital market. Most manufacturers are positioning themselves to take part in the growth of digital technology for the next round of growth, typically by partnering with a digital partner. Examples include Heidelberg’s partnership with Ricoh and Fujifilm; KBA is developing presses with HP and Xerox technology and Komori has partnered with Konica Minolta and Landa. It’s interesting that they’ll get a second chance, as that usually doesn’t happen when one technology supplants another .

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