Print industry sees the pandemic as an opportunity for innovation
To understand the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the office print industry, Quocirca conducted its fourth snapshot COVID-19 Business Impact Survey between 1st April and 27th May 2021. As previously, the research looked at the perceptions of a range of industry executives across print manufacturers (OEMs) and channel partners (MPS providers, resellers, systems integrators etc) to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses.
This report includes comparisons with the previous three surveys, the last of which was conducted in May 2020. This latest survey reveals that, while many continue to struggle with the fallout from the pandemic, there is a strong recognition of the need for change and innovation.
Quocirca received 157 completed responses, 16% from OEMs, 75% from channel organisations, and 9% from ISVs. Overall, 62% of respondents were from European organisations, 10% from North America and 13% from other regions. For the purposes of this report, where splits have been reported, they are focused on OEMs, channel partners (MPS providers, channel partners, MSPs, professional services companies) and, where appropriate, ISVs. Quocirca also segmented respondents based on their perception of their organisations as Leaders (54%), Fast Followers (31%) and Middle of the Pack (15%) in the market.
- From the crisis comes opportunity. The majority (81%) now see the pandemic as an opportunity to drive innovation within their organisation, with 38% agreeing that it could lead to mergers or acquisitions. Overall, 71% expect to see market consolidation in the next 12 months, rising to 84% among OEMs themselves. 62% believe that strengthening alliances will be critical to the future for OEMs, while 86% believe that a thriving digital ecosystem is important between now and 2025.
- There is an urgent need for industry transformation. Adapting to a services-led model is the top challenge. 61% state that the biggest challenge is moving from a product-centric to a services-led model (72% OEMs; 55% channel partners), followed by 49% who are concerned with adapting to threats from adjacent technology areas (52% OEMs; 47% channel partners). 46% 44% OEMs; 47% channel partners) stated that fostering a culture of innovation was a major issue.
- The industry is still feeling the effects of the pandemic. Despite generally positive sentiment about the future the effects are still much in evidence. 68% of respondents state that the pandemic has had a critical (3%), significant (46%) or limited (19%) impact on their business. However, this is down from 84% in 2020, showing that the industry is showing some signs of recovery, albeit slowly.
- Revenues are expected to start to recover. 55% of respondents expect to see strong or very strong growth in revenues for 2021/22, with a further 27% expecting them to remain flat. Organisations that view themselves as Leaders are more positive about revenue growth potential compared to their Fast Follower and Middle of the Pack counterparts, indicating that organisations with the ability to pivot to new offerings see greater opportunities for growth.
- Print volumes continue to show decline. 85% of respondents state that they have seen a significant or marginal decline in print volumes. 53% of all respondents have no or not much confidence in seeing print volumes recover to pre-COVID-19 levels. Just 26% are confident print volumes will return to pre-Covid levels, indicating that positivity around future revenue growth must be linked to diversification, rather than a return to the previous status quo.
- Cloud-based services are perceived as hot areas. 91% of respondents expect to see greater demand for cloud-based digital workflows, with 81% expecting greater demand for cloud-based print management. MPS is seen as in demand by only 36%, showing that it is seen as a commodity offering. MPS providers will need to use the basic provision as a springboard to a broader offering if they are to retain relevance with customers.
- The threat of Amazon looms for the channel. Nearly half of channel respondents are worried about the move by customers to online purchasing. 45% of channel respondents state that they are very or somewhat concerned about the rise in use of B2B online marketplaces such as Amazon.
For more information please download the Quocirca COVID Business Impact Phase 4 Executive Summary Report and Infographic
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