Flexo, Sheetfed Ink Markets Face Serious Challenges in 2009

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 03.31.09

Sheetfed offset and flexo are two of the largest segments in theprinting ink industry, combining for more than an estimated $1.6 billion in sales in North America alone. It comes as little surprise, then, that they have been adversely affected by the global recession.

As I note in “The Sheetfed Ink Report,” beginning on page 40, the sheetfed offset market has been particularly hard hit by the recession, most notably on the commercial side, where areas such as advertising, automotive brochures and annual reports have been impacted. The good news for sheetfed printers is in the packaging segment, as the folding carton market remains fairly strong.

By contrast, the flexographic ink industry has been relatively less impacted by the economy, according to the industry leaders I spoke with for “The Flexo Ink Market,” beginning on page 42.

It has long been said that packaging is more resistant to recessions, for the simple reason that when times are tougher, people tend to cut back on discretionary spending, such as going out to restaurants, thus buying more food to cook at home. Still, the overall state of the economy has led to a decline in purchasing big-ticket items, which impacts the corrugated market. The good news is that areas such as flexible packaging and shrink sleeves are still enjoying growth.

Regardless of the market that they serve, sheetfed and flexo ink manufacturers are still understandably concerned about the coming year.

As has been the case since 1996, our April issue features our annual North American Top 20 Report, beginning on page 20, which offers a tremendous amount of information on what is occurring at the leading ink manufacturers, and what industry leaders anticipate for the near- and long-term future.

The North American Top 20 Report is the result of interviews with industry leaders as well as information we have collected throughout the past year. During my more than 10 years at Ink World, I have had the pleasure of working with many of our industry’s leaders on our annual report, and I greatly appreciate all of the help they have given me. As always, it is my hope that our readers will gather key insights from our North American Top 20 Report.

David Savastano
Ink World Editor