Impact of Paper Costs

Photograph of paper flying out of a modern printing press

It is hard to get through a day without “cost of living crisis” being mentioned. The reality is that everything is costing more – heating, food, travel, and wages. Every day in our home life and at work, we can see, and feel, the impact of price increases.

And the paper industry is feeling the same pain.

It seems that every quarter last year started with a letter from the paper merchants informing us that another rise of 5% – 8% would be required.

Global Issue

And it’s not just the UK. In North America, paper prices are increasing too. But while their price rises are driven mostly by a lack of mill capacity and a tight labour market, over here it’s more of a perfect storm of latent demand fuelled by the pandemic together with the reduction of paper mills. Some paper mills have closed, and others have switched from paper production to board production in response to the increase in demand for packaging following the increase in e-commerce.

Increased Production Cost

Those paper mills still producing are facing increased costs from their supply chains, such as chemicals. Energy costs have sky-rocketed, and changes in logistics and distribution have also impacted production costs.

With production costs increasing, these are inevitably passed onto print buyers, and their customers.

Long Term

As to how long supply shortages and increases in paper prices will continue, our crystal ball is looking decidedly cloudy at the moment, but the feeling is that pandemic-related problems will continue hitting paper supply chains for the foreseeable future.

The focus on more sustainable packaging away from plastics, coupled with energy price pressures as the world drives towards sustainable energy production, may well keep the demand for paper – and its price – higher than we’d like.

Whilst this is certainly unwelcome news for marketers who get caught in the crossfire, the welcome news is that this is part of a move towards more sustainable products and marketing in general. And with FSC and PEFC papers being an environmentally sustainable option, and climate-positive distribution now being available, paper-based marketing is being increasingly seen as a true environmentally friendly option.

Using a print production company

Now more than ever, using a print production company makes sense. Not only will you receive price benefits, but your print will be delivered on time and within budget despite potential paper stock shortages.

How SEO2PRINT can help with the paper shortage and increase in prices


We will get a minimum of three quotes on all jobs. We pick the suppliers kit that best suits your job, and delivery both for time and location.

Direct contact with mills and merchants

We have excellent relationships with paper mills and merchants.

Extensive supply chain

We have a trusted relationship with a wide number of suppliers and have excellent communication with them. We have a broad reach in terms of supply.

Strategic planning

As an offline marketing specialist, our dedicated print category management team has never been so busy securing supply and liaising with suppliers. There is paper out there and we’re managing to source capacity for our customers, but it’s all very tight and needs careful strategic planning.

Industry experts

Our extensive experience and long-standing relationships are vitally important, alongside regular communication to keep everyone abreast of developments.

Plan Ahead

Our major piece of advice to our customers and everyone who uses print is to really plan ahead. Plan, communicate and hold regular updates with your print supplier. And now more than ever, have a plan B in place. Because putting all your eggs into one basket at this time might well leave you with egg on your face.

In the meantime, if you are concerned about your supply of paper, or want to discuss up-and-coming projects please contact us.


More Posts