BPIF PRESS RELEASE, 9th November 2023
Output and orders remained subdued in Q3 – but improved confidence stimulates better expectations to see out 2023
The UK’s printing and printed packaging industry struggled with its performance in Q3, at least as far as output and orders are concerned; however, expectations are more positive for Q4. The forecast for Q3 was for some output growth to return; that expectation has turned-out to be overly optimistic as more companies experienced a decline in output than an increase. As mentioned last quarter, a fragile economy, lingering concerns over inflation levels, for both consumers and businesses, and the possibility of further interest rate increases; have not made it easier to do business. Printers continue to concentrate on controlling costs, increasing productivity, and looking for new sales opportunities. Some cost pressures have eased, and are expected to ease further, but so too have prices – and lower prices yet may be required to encourage more output and order growth in Q4.
The latest Printing Outlook survey reveals that one-third (33%) of printers managed to increase their output levels in the third quarter of 2023, whilst another third was able to hold output steady. That left 34% experiencing a decline in their output levels. The resulting balance (the difference between the ups and the downs) was therefore -1, below the +5 that was forecast, and a little worse from the +3 experienced in Q2. The Q3 results extends the flatlining period in output growth to four quarters.