Home Printing: 6 ways the print industry has changed in the last 60 years
In the fourth instalment of our series exploring 6 ways the industry has changed, Liz Smith reflects how the need for print has changed with the invention of the internet, and home and office printers. This is something that could never have been dreamed of when LG Davis first opened its doors in 1962, but it has completely transformed the market.
4. Changing the dynamic through digitalisation and home printing
“The thought of printing at home was completely unheard of when I was young. If you wanted to print something the only way of doing it was through a printing company. There was an abundance of printing companies from one-man bands to larger corporations, as the need for print was plentiful in business. Everyone needed printed invoices and letterheads to communicate with their customers and to charge their customers. This is no longer the case, with most people emailing invoices and correspondence.”
In the 1990s the rise of home printers made printed materials even more accessible and no longer just a luxury from a commercial print shop.
With this technology came a boom of opportunity for businesses and individuals to create more interesting printing products from their own home. However, it also meant people would turn to home and office printers to print off documents, cards, letterheads and other items they might have otherwise relied on printing firms for help with. This led to an over capacity in printing companies across the UK in the 2000s. In 2009 there were 11300 printing companies in the UK and by 2019 it had reduced to just 8400.
Printers have had to adapt and that has seen them evolve and carve their own niche in the market. Print has become more targeted and quality print is now coming back into fashion. The UK is the 5th largest producer of print in the World and that is testament to the industry’s resilience. Printers are offering new and varied services from branded merchandise to workwear and office furniture. Traditional print shops have become more diverse to support changing needs and different clientele.
Individuals and businesses have never had so much choice on how to get printing jobs completed. When LG Davis first started if you wanted something printing you went to your local printers. With the reduced need for print and the ability to print from your own desktop or home printer, this has made the market a much tougher environment.
This huge change in requirements has meant that printing firms have had to be agile and responsive to the new landscape to keep relevant and continually demonstrate their worth to an ever-changing audience. This not only brings opportunity for the industry to evolve but also opportunities for greater collaboration and innovative ways of working.
Find out how printers are going green as we continue our look into the next of our 6 big changes for the industry next week, or look back at other changes such as reduced costs, advances in technology or changing faces.