May 18, 2018 | Daywey Chen
We discussed the demographic trends and how it has impacted the printing industry in our last issue. In this issue we will touch upon how the change of people’s lifestyle will impact the printing industry and how you should prepare for it.
In the era of the internet boom, people are always online and are constantly exposed to messages from brand owners, friends, work, family…etc. There are myriads of brand owners trying to reach the consumers at every moment. As result, the consumer attention becomes much shorter when compared to before and subconsciously are constantly seeking for new things to attract them. Consumers’ time is more fragmented than ever and if you are not able to capture their attention in a matter of seconds then you are bound to lose them. According to a study conducted by Microsoft, found that since the year 2000 (about when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. According to an article from Harvard business school, the cost of 
attention has increased dramatically from seven to nine folds in the last two decades for brand owners.
As the consumer attention span shortens, brand owners are increasing the number of varieties of products and designs that they are introducing to the market. The product lifecycle is becoming much shorter. From the printers’ side, we are finding more shorter runs and smaller packaging sizes job orders. To remain competitive, printers need to increase their efficiency to meet the trend. To reduce the lead time by reducing job setup time, job change over time, to print at a faster speed, and to source material faster.
Another observed phenomenon is the greater consumer bargaining power. This is due to the greater information transparency as the internet became more prevalent. From a cost perspective, the consumers are much more price conscious and sensitive nowadays. According to a study by PwC, 60% of the studied group say that they will compare different shops to find the lowest price. According to Hawk Incentives, 80% of shoppers actively looked for a deal before doing any shopping and nearly 50% chose to shop in places where they would be able to use their mobile device to check price. 
As consumers are much more price conscious nowadays, how printers are able to help the brands in cost savings would be a key factor to success. Cost reduction could be achieved through either becoming more efficient locally or as a group. To become more efficient locally refers to becoming more efficient within the printing factory through automation, standardizing the process, better production management, better equipment…etc. To become more effective as a group refers to achieving an economy of scale through vertical or horizontal integration.
In this era, consumer voices are greater than ever. This is a double-edged sword in a way as interesting content could go viral online in a short amount of time but at the same time, bad reputation could be spread-out overnight. Creating viral contents and events that are interesting, fun, interactive and original would be a key component to brand owner’s marketing efforts. It’s is known that a viral content could reach millions of audiences in a few short weeks.
With the power of the internet to spread information quickly, printers need to think beyond the print job, but to think further about how to help brand owners in creating and test contents on the packaging. To work with the brand in data sharing, performance tracking and in finding cost-effective solutions through trial and error.  
Three points discussed in the consumer lifestyle trend, including shorter consumer attention span, increased consumer price consciousness and the greater consumer voice. Next time we will be discussing the merger and acquisition trend in the North American region, including why had the printing industry became one of the favorable investment for private equity firms and how this impacted the printing factories’ operation and decision-making process.

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Article by Daywey Chen, KYMC