The global stationery & cards market was worth $155.4 in 2015 (1) and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.74% over 2016-2020. North America and European countries represent the largest markets for these products. Asian Pacific markets indicate largest growth potential with growing educational needs and economical developments.
The stationery and cards market is an absolute heterogeneous business which includes the paper industry as its primary segment. There are many stationery products: notebooks, exercise books, flip over pads, subject textbooks and plastic cover books to name a few. Other paper products such as autograph books, greeting cards and party or special occasion invite cards and gift wraps play a vital part in further increasing the business of stationery products.
The global digitalization of the economy and the rise of digital communications has impacted the stationary and cards market. At the same time some essential products remain and the paperless office motto from the early 90's never materialized. The card industry has been the most challenged. Profits went down and the industry went into a major transformation. Digital printing, customization and personalization and licensing have been sources of new growth especially in mature markets.
Although the market for paper-based products faces erosion due to digital communication, some essential products, such as note pads, folders and files generate continuous demand for paper-based products. The constant changing trends of the products and continuous innovative styles adapted by the manufacturers are shaping the industry.
The main trends are around product innovations, licensing, automation to address falling profits and demand for green products
Manufacturers are transitioning in terms of functionalities of stationery and cards by innovating with new designs, formats and models. Vendors in the market are incorporating new technologies in greeting cards and stationery to increase their revenues and make them more appealing to consumers. Hallmark Cards have come up with sound cards, lenticular cards, and cards that have a voice changer, 3D motion, and lights. Such cards come with premium price tags and have a good demand in the market.
Licensing and faster time-to-market
The cards segment has enjoyed some stability driven by the licensing deals with cartoon characters, movies, mobile games, TV shows, and sports stars. This trend is anticipated to continue its popularity. The challenge for the manufacturers is to be able to print, cut and ship the cards across the globe timely as some characters have a short life span.
Profit went down as fast as the digitalization took place and has been dramatic for the industry. While card sales have actually held steady in recent years, according the Greeting Card Association, cards are nowhere near as profitable as they used to be. Companies have flooded the market with personalized digital greetings and new delivery systems but most haven't found a way to squeeze much profit from them. Automation of the stationery and cards production is on all manufacturers agenda. From printing to cutting and shipping, optimization is key. This trend provides opportunities for printing and converting machinery vendors.
Demand for green products
Consumers are increasingly embracing lifestyles and processes that support green living. This is largely shaping new buying patterns who consciously reduce the use of paper and paper-based products. Vendors are addressing this wave of environmental challenges by researching alternative materials. FSC-certified materials, alcohol-free printing process, vegetable-based inks, compostable bags, and overall recyclable substrates are critical.
From a manufacturing standpoint the demand is for good quality products. Like in many markets, the premium products are the most profitable. This trend is forcing manufacturers to be equipped with cost effective printing processes combined with productive and qualitative cutting and folding machinery.
Stationary and cards often use hot foil stamping . With almost fifty years of experience in the design and manufacture of foil stamping machines, BOBST has remained constantly at the forefront of advances in this technology. For stationary and cards where quality and productivity are required, the MASTERFOIL 106 PR delivers exactly this. This hot foil stamping machine will deliver huge savings in foil usage.
Lower volume production such as greeting cards will find a perfect match with the very versatile VISIONFOIL 104 hot foil stamping press, capable to switch from foiling to flat-bed die-cutting with stripping.
Greeting card cutting is unique and can be sophisticated. Having the equipment to get the job done is vitally important. The NOVACUT 106 E gives you access to world-leading technology that delivers both, versatility and productivity, without compromise.