The European forms industry is experiencing a decline in the volume of forms printed on impact printers, caused by a shift to digital non-impact printing, i.e. laser electrophotography and inkjet. The market is shifting away from lower value listing (stock) products towards higher value bespoke (custom) products, particularly A4 sheets that are output on laser printers. Carbonless forms continue to be under pressure, but there are still opportunities in this market if forms printers tailor their offerings to what is increasingly becoming a niche product.
Forms generation is shifting to end-to-end digital processes to be output on digital printing devices – and in some instances also reduce the need for paper forms in general. In consequence, there are more, higher value forms printed which include customized content and marketing messages as well as other value-add information.
Other factors influencing the demand of printed business forms are:
An Industry Re-Invents Itself
Faced with declining revenues, business forms printers are exploring how they can develop smarter, quicker, and cheaper business practices to better differentiate their services. In the future, the most successful companies will be those that can move up the value chain to address their customers’ need for total workflow integration, making the transition from business forms printer to business communications service provider.
Innovators in the European business forms industry have developed services that distance them from the actual printing of the job. Services include forms management service, such as just-in-time production and consulting services in developing and optimizing the forms, including building a forms library. They also offer archival and extraction services for filled-out forms (data capture), direct mail with personalization, electronic forms (e-forms), intelligent forms (I-forms), and overall business administration.
This issue has been abstracted from the CAP Ventures research report entitled “The European Business Forms Industry,” which provides comprehensive market data for pre-printed, impact, and non-impact forms. It also offers a technology overview and an analysis of the Western and Eastern European country markets. For more information about this report, contact Alison Hipp at ext. 126.