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Three important print opportunities for 2021

2021 doesn’t have to be about doom and gloom

I have read a lot about how print is being affected by so many markets being unable to function due to Coronavirus. Many traditional print markets have been hugely affected by the events of the past few months. However, there are also a host of new print opportunities.

Some markets are expanding rapidly. Others are opening up to print in ways that they never have before. And some markets are not as dead as we might think. However, we do need to approach customers with a new creative mindset.

Here are my print opportunities for 2021

I have outlined three print opportunities that I think will be big in 2021. Printing companies that embrace these opportunities will have the chance to create new partnerships. They have a much better likelihood of staying in control of their sales pipelines and achieving the turnover that thy need. 

Printing companies that stick to the markets and print opportunities that they know may struggle to achieve the same turnover. They will be relying on the same relationships that they have always had. But not all of these will be appropriate for 2021. 

With that in mind, here are my three print opportunities. The first one may seem obvious. But the potential is huge.


Delivery companies have had to evolve far faster over the past months than they had ever foreseen. Demand for home deliveries has skyrocketed. Consumers have embraced home shopping and this trend looks to be permanent, especially with the collapse of so many traditional retail chains recently.  

There is a huge range of companies embracing e-commerce. They range from large brands, through restaurants and traditional retail stores to one person craft companies that have often been launched as their founders lost their traditional jobs. 

Many companies are new to e-commerce. They have a lot to learn. How do you increase perceived value, customer spend and customer loyalty as well as finding a customer base in the first place? These are all areas where print can help. Packaging increases perceived value and customer loyalty. Loyalty vouchers and in-parcel marketing increase customer loyalty and repeat spends. Door drops and direct mail create a market in the first place. 

It is up to the printing industry to educate e-commerce companies on what print can achieve for them. E-commerce companies want to know what business results we can bring. We have the opportunity to address this. But my second opportunity does not require any education.

Social distance and signage

Again, this may seem an obvious market. Some people think of this as a single-shot opportunity that has been and gone. However, social distancing will be here for the rest of 2021 and probably much longer. Signage will require replacing. As importantly, it will evolve to become a marketing opportunity as well as a safety product. If printing companies can persuade their customers of this opportunity, they will have plenty of repeat business.

Social distance signage is about far more than the signs and safety products themselves. Right now, many businesses that have had nothing to do with print before are having to speak to printing companies. These new relationships can lead to so much more. The fact that a dialogue can be had with a new business means that education can take place and more print be sold.

However, we shouldn’t write off traditional print markets. My third opportunity for 2021 may seem like a strange choice.


There are unlikely to be many live events for many months to come. So why on earth choose events as a print opportunity? The answer is simple: print has an opportunity to help with online events.

Right now, people are overwhelmed by the amount of online activity that is happening. It is easy to sign up to an online event and then be too busy to attend. Even the replays will be missed. So how do events organisers make their events stand out from the crowd?

Print is the answer to this. Imagines booking a place at a premium event and receiving physical items. A printed box is delivered to you with the event T-shirt, lanyard, printed agenda and a catalogue from event sponsors. There might also be some nice gifts as well. Now the audience feels truly connected to the event Attendance engagement will be much higher.

My reason for including this opportunity is not just about events: it is more about how the printing industry must create new opportunities. Events is only one sector. Hospitality is moving into home delivery: similar opportunities exist for print here and in many other markets.

It is time to take action

Succeeding with these print opportunities means taking the first step. Customers are unlikely to come to printing companies. Instead, printers need to go out and market how they can help businesses that may be struggling to make the most of the opportunities that 2021 has to offer. 

What is the first step to this? Stop thinking doom and gloom. Think positive instead!

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