Keypoint Intelligence Analyst Unboxes the Packaging Opportunity at PRINTING United
Commercial printers can and should be looking at revenue opportunities in packaging, according to Ryan McAbee, an analyst for Keypoint Intelligence who follows packaging market trends. At PRIINTING United, he briefed a conference session on why this is so and what printers can do to find their way in.
The fact that commercial printing will not return to its pre-recession peaks is one incentive, McAbee said. So is the fact, as Keypoint Intelligence research has found, that Vistaprint and other leading online print vendors are branching into customized packaging and charging high prices for it.
Commercial printers who want a piece of the action should focus on providing small-batch production for “an explosion of small, start-up brands” that are buying packaging and labels “all over the place,” McAbee said. These small businesses – craft breweries are the prime example – are growing faster than established brands and need distinctive packaging and labels in order to assert themselves in the marketplace.
“Labels definitely are approachable” because systems for producing them are affordable, McAbee said. So are folding cartons, thanks to the advent of digital presses designed for that application.
Printers can prepare for the task by optimizing their internal processes and removing production touchpoints that cause delay and waste. Packaging production, McAbee counseled, only begins with the printing: “the biggest component often is how it will be finished.”
McAbee concluded with three general recommendations for commercial printers who are serious about breaking into packaging:
- “Basically look” for opportunities by searching online for small, local brand-owning businesses that use labels and packaging;
- Determine what the plant needs for small-batch production, and equip accordingly;
- Ask for small-batch orders within the existing customer base.
In these ways, McAbee said, printers can get off to a good start in a world that is dominated by large converters, but doesn’t have to belong exclusively to them.