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An overview of the UK printing industry


You may be surprised to learn that the printing industry plays a key role in the UK’s economy. In this article, I want to take a look at the UK print industry.

We’ll start by looking at some key statistics about the industry, before moving on to look at the future of the printing industry both globally and in the UK.

The Stats

First, we’ll take a look at the data. You can find all the statistics about printing from this article about printing in the UK.

In 2017, the UK was the world’s fifth largest producer of printed products. This trend is expected to be true for the 2018 data too, once it is released. This demonstrates the scale of the British print industry, and also gives the sense that the UK is one of the key players within the global print industry.

To understand a little more about how the printing industry fits into the picture of UK, we can take a look at more specific data. In 2017, the british printing industry had a turnover of £13.8bn, and employed 116,000 people across the UK. This means that the printing industry generates more turnover than the British space industry (£11bn), and is not far off the British pharmaceutical industry, which generates £15.2bn a year (see this article for more stats about UK manufacturing). The fact that UK printing holds its own against these two titans of UK business is a clear indicator of just how important the printing is to the British economy.

Finally, there are more than 8,400 printing companies in the UK. These companies are distributed across the UK, meaning that the print industry provides broad employment in way that other, more concentrated industries, do not.

The Future of UK Printing

A key focus for keeping British printing globally competitive is that it continues to innovate. This makes research and development a huge priority for many ink manufacturers and other companies in the printing space. This is especially true as global demand for printing is forecast to decline.

Image URL: https://pixabay.com/photos/printer-ink-toner-technology-print-933098/

Also, like many industries, the world of printing is under increasing pressure to become greener. Not only are companies now looking to print less in order to save on waste, but the methods of printing need to become cleaner and more carbon efficient. Luckily, the UK is well place to deal with these changes as a leader in both tech innovation and green industry.

All this suggests that the UK print industry will continue to be a key contributor to the British economy, and will maintain its place as one the UK’s major industries.


Hopefully this article has demonstrated how the UK’s print industry is a key contributor to the country’s economy. It is one of the key employers within British industry, and is well placed to continue growing in the future, even as printing demand decreases.


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