Printing industry books 53% sales drop amid pandemic, digital shift


The printing industry has registered a 53-percent drop in sales amid the accelerated shift to digitalization during the pandemic.

Ma. Corazon H. Dichosa, Board of Investments (BOI) executive director for industry development services, said in a virtual event on Monday that the printing industry was among the sectors adversely affected by the pandemic.

“Notwithstanding, the PCPEF reported that even if the printing industry had been adversely affected by the crisis, resulting in a 53-percent decline in sales, printing companies did not reduce workers and even converted some of the facilities to house their workers,” Dichosa said, referring to the Philippine Center for Print Excellence Foundation Inc.

“This pandemic has given us a pause to recalibrate our steps, rethink and use this time to strengthen our ranks,” she added.

While the industry worries over the impact of the pandemic, Dichosa noted that the sector is also facing another challenge: lack of technical workers in the field.

In response to the need of the industry, the BOI, PCPEF and the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to reskill the printing sector workers amid the fourth industrial revolution.

The pact covers skills development, technology access and collaboration of the public and private sector.

“Our ultimate goal is to enhance supply capability, so a lot of the printing jobs need not go to China or any other Asean country,” she explained. “Our local printing industry should be able to service the needs of the other local industries and outsource printing jobs from other countries.”

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that the training program for the industry work force is in line with the National Employment Recovery Strategy 2021-2022.

The eight-point agenda seeks to encourage more employment generation and to enhance employability and productivity of workers.

“As we build back better in the post-pandemic future, we hope to address the present and future talent requirements of the country’s emerging industries,” he said.

Economic contributor

Lopez said that the printing industry remains a critical contributor to the economy amid the digital shift, stressing that investing in human capital development and strengthening industry-government linkages are a must.

For example, the trade chief noted that print—such as newspapers and magazines—is still an important tool in advertising.

“Many people consider print advertisements to be credible, informative, and long lasting. Further, print is an important channel that increases reach and helps in spreading information, which is why many companies still print comprehensive brochures and colorful flyers to advertise their products,” he explained.

The printing industry is also necessary to consumable goods and products given the labeling requirements, Lopez said, adding that product reputation is honed with “superior packaging material and flawless technology.”

In 2015, an industry road map for the printing industry was launched. It aims to enhance supply capability, boost demand for print products and services, encourage collaboration within the sector and with allied industries, and establish a conducive business environment.

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