The printing industry, once a thriving sector, has experienced a decline in sales in recent years. This downward trend is primarily attributed to the emergence of Quick Response codes (QR codes) and the high cost of production, including utility tariffs. Accra Newtown, a bustling hub for various printing needs, ranging from books and posters to invitation cards and t-shirts, has not been immune to these challenges.
The Impact of Covid-19 on Accra Newtown Press
Traditionally, Accra Newtown has been synonymous with printing presses, offering a wide range of printing services. However, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic had a profound impact on the industry. The imposition of restrictions on social gatherings, such as funerals and church activities that often require printing services, led to a significant decrease in demand. Consequently, the business of printing experienced a notable slowdown.
A recent visit by Citi Business News to Accra Newtown’s printing hub revealed that most printing press outlets have resumed their operations, albeit with several challenges. Dela, a Senior Executive at one of the popular printing outlets, highlighted the unstable foreign exchange rates and high cost of utilities as factors contributing to the decline in sales. She explained, “Our consumables are very expensive. The cost of papers and ink has skyrocketed due to the unstable forex. Additionally, the high cost of electricity further exacerbates the situation.”
Sales Plummet as QR Codes Take Over the Market
Moreover, the shift in consumer behavior influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic has also affected the printing industry. Dela noted, “Covid has brought about changes. People have resorted to QR codes, where they print around 50 books and then attach QR codes at strategic points for events. This has significantly reduced the volume of printing demands, ultimately affecting our profit margins.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by Maxwell, another worker at a printing outlet in Accra Newtown. He expressed, “Business has been slow due to the increasing preference for technology. Additionally, the unstable forex rates have negatively impacted our operations.”
Appeal to Government
Elias Tanoh, an experienced printer with decades of work experience, urgently appealed to the government for support to revitalize the struggling industry. Tanoh emphasized, “Over the past few years, the printing business has faced a downward trend. The cost of production has significantly risen. I implore the government to examine the duties on the importation of production materials, including paper, in order to alleviate the burden on the industry.” He further highlighted the challenge of competitors resorting to bulk printing from China due to their relatively stable prices.
To address the challenges faced by the printing industry, it is crucial to explore potential solutions. Firstly, industry players should consider diversifying their services and exploring new printing technologies to adapt to the changing market demands. This could involve offering graphic design services, personalized printing, or specialty printing for niche markets. By expanding their range of services, printing outlets can attract a wider customer base.
Furthermore, collaboration among printing businesses could prove beneficial. By pooling resources and sharing costs, printing outlets can leverage economies of scale and reduce their individual financial burden. This cooperative approach may enable them to remain competitive in an increasingly challenging market.
Additionally, the government can play a vital role in supporting the printing industry. Initiatives such as tax incentives, subsidies, or reduced import duties on essential production materials can alleviate the financial strain on printing businesses. Moreover, the government could invest in vocational training programs to enhance the skills of printers, ensuring their ability to adapt to emerging technologies and meet evolving customer demands.
In conclusion, the printing industry in Accra Newtown has faced a decline in sales attributed to factors such as the popularity of QR codes and the high cost of production. The Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these challenges by shifting consumer preferences and reducing demand for traditional printing services. Urgent action is needed to revitalize the struggling industry. Collaboration among printing businesses, diversification of services, and government support are key steps that can contribute to the industry’s revival. By embracing these measures, Accra Newtown’s printing industry can adapt to the changing landscape and thrive once again.
Source: CitiBusiness News