Today, everywhere you go, dozens (if not hundreds) of messages are vying for your audience’s attention. And it’s not just other signage. Every person you’re trying to reach is carrying a distraction factory in their pocket—assuming it’s not already out in their hands and keeping them from seeing the stunning signs you’ve worked so hard on.
In a large-format print market now worth billions, the PSPs who offer something extra can reap huge rewards.
Large-format printing continues to be a profitable segment. By 2025, the worldwide market for large-format printing will be worth $11.2 billion. Despite this prodigious growth, parts of the core large-format business are becoming increasingly commoditized.
This is particularly true for deliverables such as banners and posters, which are some of the easiest applications to produce. This has prompted some print service providers (PSPs) to use the period of upheaval we are going through to re-position and diversify their businesses. They are doing this by expanding into higher-profit applications as a natural next step. Some applications are simply worth more.
Differentiation is key to growth. This realization has sparked a dash to innovate, with printers looking for new business models, new opportunities, and even new types of product to help them prosper in the locked down business landscape. The best way to do that is to diversify and be able to offer something your competitors do not.
If Necessity is the Mother of Invention, Lockdown is Its Father
No one can accuse the large-format sector of failing to be inventive and entrepreneurial. When the pandemic hit, many PSPs switched almost instantly to printing public-health and social distancing signage.
Many print providers have moved into the creation of signage and other public-health information assets to help clients cope with the current emergency. “We saw a big interest in the social-distancing templates from print providers who were moving fast, to help their communities and keep business flowing during lockdown,” says Tom Wittenberg, HP Large Format Events and Industry Relations Manager, NA.
As well as producing signage for social distancing, many print providers are also accelerating the development of online businesses while looking for new ways to differentiate their company by providing new and innovative high-value and high-margin applications. These high-value applications include window graphics, vinyl clings and two-sided stickers.
Another aspect of how PSPs have responded is by developing the ability to work remotely with clients who are no longer able to physically attend the print provider’s premises or input into the print process. The challenge has been to find ways to work with remote clients while keeping the actual business of printing running efficiently. At the same time, PSPs are optimizing their cost structure and actively searching for efficiencies.
New Technologies and New Opportunities
With this need for high-quality public-health signage, comes opportunity. Across the industry, we’re seeing an upward trend for printer décor applications that are not just purely informative, but also “high-value,” creating particular experiences for the end-user.
A recent HP study of large-format print providers in Germany, India, and the United States found that the average profit margin for some types of signage was significantly higher. These included window signage and short-term textiles and backlight graphics. Looking at the three highest-grossing applications the study found that 60 percent of all orders were printed on latex printers, almost twice the number produced on solvent printers. Industry research shows that for the highest-margin applications, HP Latex is the technology of choice.
“In many high-value categories, customers want most print jobs on latex,” said Wittenberg. “Because many providers don’t have latex printers, a lot of these jobs end up being outsourced. For providers who do have the right hardware, this creates the opportunity to build two new revenue streams: the jobs that come to them directly, which they no longer have to outsource, and the jobs that other PSPs bring to them. And the best way to do this is to take advantage of the unique competitive edge provided by HP Latex 700/800 Printer Series. As a result of their versatility and their white ink capabilities, HP Latex 700/800 Printer Series help PSPs deliver services in-house that would traditionally have been outsourced.”
Another stand-out feature of the latest and most advanced HP Latex printing technology is the ability to use white ink. In some applications, using white ink to enhance effectiveness can help print providers increase margins by up to 13 percent (based on a research conducted by Keypoint Intelligence July 2020 and commissioned by HP, over 100 print service providers across the U.S., Europe, and India).
Take the Lead in an Evolving Print Market
“Thanks to HP Latex, print service providers can produce in-house high-value print jobs that can drive an average gross margin higher than 30 percent,” said Wittenberg. “The new generation of HP Latex 700 and 800 Printers radically improve the customer experience, helping to ignite business growth and adapt to future needs. We continue to innovate across our large format portfolio with new products and solutions to enable our customers to be equipped to win those high-value jobs they are after.”
As the market for large-format print evolves, PSPs need to find new ways to add value and stand out from their competitors. Upgrading to the latest generation of latex printers opens up new revenue streams, from existing customers and from erstwhile competitors, and it gives print providers the ability to produce a wide range of print jobs—that have a measurably higher impact for customers.
To find out more about these game-changing printers, join us at one of our Latex 700/800 Academies. They’re a quick ninety minutes and give you the entire rundown of the products—advantages, benefits, and applications—plus the opportunity to speak up and get your questions answered by the experts.
—HP Large Format Marketing
About Tom Wittenburg
Tom Wittenburg is the HP Large Format Events and Industry Relations Manager for North America. He has been in the printing industry for nearly thirty-six years. As a turnaround professional, he has led successful sales, operational, and financial overhauls of three global printing companies to double and triple sales and profit in three years, prior to joining the HP Marketing team.