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Beyond Décor: Rachel Nunziata

How Décor Printers Can Capitalize on the Post-Pandemic Era

More print surfaces mean more opportunities.

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IT’S HARD TO believe, but we’re more than halfway through the year. Even though it feels like 2021 hasn’t progressed much, thankfully it has. By the time this Beyond Décor column is published, more than 63 percent of Americans will have been vaccinated and 52 percent will be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, per CDC data. We’re on the path to normalcy and industries are finally beginning to open up, which means it’s time for PSPs to gear up as we re-enter the market and build stronger businesses for the post-pandemic era.

ICYMI: During virtual FESPA 2021, Debbie McKeegan, CEO of Texintel, hosted a panel of leaders from the digital textile print sector as they discussed the future of interior décor. Experts predicted 2022 will be the year of “cash flow and confidence” as customers continue recovering this year, but at a lower rate than the market – an important piece of context. That means next year will be prime time for new product launches and getting projects back on track.

The good news for your décor print business? Public safety practices learned from the pandemic will be implemented in future interior design concepts. For the post-pandemic era, designers will be seeking new solutions to compartmentalize space and increase flexibility. Gone are the days of large, wasteful open floor plans. Breaking up interiors by creating zones and directing one-way foot traffic not only optimizes the use of space, it increases printable surfaces. We’re not solely relying on four walls anymore.

Speaking of surfaces, remember when ASTM slip-rated floor graphics became a hot topic because people were staring down at their smartphones while walking through retail and grocery stores? Sadly, we still do that (guilty), but those graphics won’t be short-term anymore – they’ll be a design intention. This could open a need for customized digitally printed ceramic tiles and other long-term applications such as paste-applied wallcoverings to support decorative, clean interiors that are easier to navigate.

If you happen to have an ecomm-based print business, you’ve got a leg up. According to a recent article in Forbes, “The pandemic boosted online spending by $183 billion over the past year, and it has permanently accelerated ecommerce, with Americans on track to spend $1 trillion online – a record amount – in 2022, according to a new report by Adobe.” Another interesting pandemic phenomena? During lockdown, creatives such as photographers and artists sought new ways to generate revenue with their content and many became self-taught home décor product designers. So, if ecommerce and décor is in your wheelhouse, you have a competitive advantage for the market today and definitely into the future as online consumer spend increases.

Remember, 2021 is the year of recovery but 2022 will be primed for cash flow and new launches. Public space design will be compartmentalized, thus creating more printable surface areas. Short-term decorative wayfinding graphics will become long-term design intentions. If you have a web-to-print business model, consider expanding your reach to creatives and new product designers.

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Excited for what’s ahead? You should be! Now is the perfect time to flex your printing muscles and show the world what digital print can do.

Rachel Nunziata is a digital print business and market development specialist with an undeniable enthusiasm for interior and home décor segments. She is a graduate of Ringling College of Art & Design in Sarasota, Florida, and has a knack for enabling synergies between artists, interior designers, and industry experts. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter @RachelNunziata.

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