Annual printing ink sales are down 18% and the outlook remains very uncertain for next year according to data from The British Coatings Federation (BCF).
In a survey conducted in the second-half of October, federation members said they were more positive than they were in June, but that confidence was still weaker than average and far lower than the pre-Brexit levels. Whilst decorative coatings have seen strong growth this year, sales in the printing inks and industrial coatings markets are well down.
The BCF said this reflects a continued decline in the publication sector as well as a sharp downturn in certain packaging areas, particularly in the hospitality sector and on-the-go packaging where the decline in business activity has had a major impact, with year-to-date printing ink sales down 18%.
Similarly, industrial coatings sales are down 17% YTD, and although a large proportion of firms are expecting sales to increase next year as UK manufacturing returns to more normal levels, many companies expect the recovery to be limited.
One major area of concern is employee numbers, with almost half of firms expecting redundancies in 2021 due to the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit.