The trend of traditional magazine grades such as LWC and SC paper losing ground to new, more cost-effective alternatives has never been as obvious as it is now
- Karolina Svensson
New requirements and products are changing the market for magazine paper. Glossy, coated paper grades are losing ground. Magazine publishers and retail giants are instead choosing more cost-effective options for magazines, direct mail and catalogues. For Holmen XLNT this marks a positive break in the trend.
The statistics paint a very clear picture. We are seeing a shift in the market. The winners are uncoated, wood-containing printing papers that are gaining appreciation among consumers and advertisers due to their great ‘paper feel’ and a surface structure that offers excellent readability.
“The trend of traditional magazine grades such as LWC and SC paper losing ground to new, more cost-effective alternatives has never been as obvious as it is now,” says Karolina Svensson, sales and Marketing Director at Holmen Paper.
In 2013 deliveries of coated magazine paper in Europe fell by 7 per cent and SC paper fell by 4 per cent. At the same time, deliveries of uncoated magazine paper increased by 7 per cent.
And it’s not difficult for Karolina Svensson to identify the underlying causes of the break in the trend.
“The producers of printed material are under pressure due to poor profitability. The new paper grades give more print surface for your money. When based on virgin fibre, the paper acquires a bulk that allows you to select lower grammages with the same feel. Money is then also saved on distribution, amounting to as much as 20 per cent greater cost efficiency.”
Buy less–get more doesn’t work, or does it?
Of course it does. Let’s compare two paper grades: Holmen XLNT (38 g/m2) and a SC/MF paper in 45 g/m2. You get the same look, feel and size. But here’s the funny part. Holmen XLNT gives you 18 percent more print surface, lower distribution costs and saves money for your business. Which means, if you buy 5 000 tonnes of your average paper, you only buy 4 100 tonnes of Holmen XLNT for the same product. The numbers say it all. You can reap the profits directly, or invest what you save in more frequent direct mail or more expensive supplements. It’s easy to make an excellent choice with Holmen XLNT!
XLNT paved the way ten years ago
The product that has paved the way for this development more than others was launched more than ten years ago but continues to be developed today. Dan Buskhe is a prominent figure in the history of Holmen XLNT, and he continues in his role of strategic product developer at Holmen Paper. He is pleased that the product that laid the foundations for the company’s successful speciality paper strategy is continuing to improve and challenge competitors.
“When it was launched, Holmen XLNT was a groundbreaking product – something completely new. An uncoated paper that, with its surface properties and high bulk, presented a challenge to LWC and SC paper. Holmen XLNT shook up the market and actually created a brand-new market segment,” says Dan.
A good paper gets even better
“Holmen XLNT is now a large family of products, and we’re constantly working on refining them,” he continues. “I’m really excited to see how the market will react to what we have in the pipeline for Holmen XLNT in the future.”
Over the years Holmen XLNT has had several imitators, which is positive as competition stimulates product development, according to Karolina Svensson. “In our major market survey in 2013, it was obvious that despite demands for savings, paper purchasers still rank a paper’s feel and properties as crucial for their printed material. The ability of the paper to signal and contribute to presenting the right image for products and brands is still decisive. And now there are new paper options on the market that can achieve this while ensuring cost efficiency. This explains the break in the trend.”
The strongest argument for Holmen XLNT is the scope to make customers’ DM projects more effective as a whole.
- Sture Udd
Efficiencies for customers’ DM projects
Direct mail on paper remains the most efficient method of attracting customers to stores. Uncoated paper with a low grammage such as Holmen XLNT further improves efficiency by making the production and distribution of printed material cost-effective.
Sture Udd, owner of the UPC Group in Finland, is one player who has recognised the potential in the products now challenging traditional paper choices.
“The strongest argument for Holmen XLNT is the scope to make customers’ DM projects more effective as a whole,” says Sture Udd. “The lower paper cost opens up the potential to produce more pages and make more frequent mailings – creating more contact with consumers.”
“Being at the forefront of the development of these kinds of speciality paper products is part of Holmen Paper’s long-term strategy. Speciality paper, including book paper, is now responsible for more than half of Holmen Paper’s total sales, and we’ll be continuing on our path of constant improvements,” concludes Dan Buskhe.