Paper price pressures start to feed through to the market

While Covid-19 has been having dramatic effects on health and wellbeing for all of us over the last two years, its effects on business have had equally harsh consequences. The supply chains that every householder and business have taken for granted have been smashed and the resulting clammer for raw materials has not escaped the problems.

The results are unprecedented shortages leading to price rises in everything we consume. Paper is no different and, in some cases, has been impacted even more severely as raw materials become harder to source, the transportation of materials has risen over 800% and parts of the industry simply didn’t recover from the shock of a lockdown world.

Paper and Board prices at a ten year high

Harmony Creative Print has been supplying local and national businesses with finished print products for over 7 years and in this time has experienced many changes in the market including the continued commentary that printed materials are out of vogue and electronic marketing direct to an inbox is the only way forward.

This cuts against the grain of an industry where demand is constantly outstripping supply leading to a dramatic rise in print costs. But why?

In today’s digital communications world, the inbox is the target for every conceivable type of approach and offer. The compliance with the use of personal data has tightened dramatically and machine learning has been employed to sift out the emails and attachments that are speculatively being sent. Cyber security is high on the agenda of organisations that have developed active countermeasures to protect their employee’s inboxes, shutting off a vital artery for digital marketers.

This apprehension is justifiable, based on the fact that online crime is up 90% and data breaches are up 223% during the pandemic.

The pivot point for today’s savvy marketing teams is the recognition that printed material, such as brochures, flyers and catalogues are less intrusive to someone’s digital day and can land that crucial marketing message right to the point it was directed as recognised in a survey conducted during the pandemic by keypoint intelligence.

Once the idea that physical printing is still a powerful tool in the marketer’s arsenal, developing high quality messaging that can be used over and over again becomes ever more appealing. Print can help companies to rise above the digital noise, eliminating email targeting fatigue and strengthening the bond with target audiences.

Plan early to avoid disappointment

Since March 2021 the major 4 paper Merchants have increased their prices to offset supply, production and staffing costs and this given the CPI rate rise in January 2022 will only accelerate this trend. Couple this with the news from the BPIF (British Print Industries Federation) and the trade press, who report that Finnish paper mill UPM, one of the prominent suppliers to the UK of coated and uncoated paper, started strike action in January and this action appears to be escalating.

Read more about the Finnish paper mills strike here:

The other pressure on paper and board supply is the unprecedented demand for board products for packaging. The pandemic turned us all into home shoppers and online shopping services such as Amazon and eBay together with food delivery companies such as Deliveroo and Gusto are buying up every conceivable piece of board product to suffice an explosion in packaging needs.

This all leads to a realisation that for house businesses who want to rely on printed papers and boards in 2022 as part of their marketing programme, they need to start the discussion with their printer soon to avoid the disappointment of either not getting the product they want, paying over the odds to get it or having to wait longer than they wanted to get the finished product.

Harmony Creative Printing has developed relationships with key paper and board suppliers covering a diverse range of coated and uncoated products of all sizes, which to this point continues to offer our customers a choice of products to meet their marketing plans.