Printer confidence was up in May, according to the latest economic indicators from the Printing Business Panel of the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL). In the highest reading since January, 30 percent of the printers surveyed by NAPL expect business to improve during the six months ahead. Just 13 percent expect business to decline, the lowest reading since last December. The economic analysis comes from NAPL’s Printing Economic Research Center (PERC), which produces research and publications sponsored by Heidelberg, Kennesaw, GA.
Rising confidence helped lift the NAPL Printing Business Index (PBI), the association’s broadest measure of print activity, to 46.1 in May, from 45.1 in April. That is the index’s second consecutive increase, following six consecutive declines. In September 2002, the index hit a two-year high of 54.1, but fell to a 15-month low in March 2003.
“The PBI will be staying below the critical 50.0 mark until the expectation that business will be improving turns into reality sometime after midyear,” said Andrew Paparozzi, NAPL vice president and chief economist. “There’s no sign of that upturn yet.”
Sales fell 1.3 percent in April (the latest data available) for the NAPL Printing Business Panel, the fourth consecutive decline. Year-to-date (January 1-April 30) sales are down 1.7 percent.
“This year’s losses reverse the modest gains of late 2002, when sales grew 1 percent from September through December,” said Mr. Paparozzi. “The good news is that declines have moderated since January of this year, when sales fell 3.7 percent. And, despite a quarter disrupted by war, we’re still well ahead of last year, when sales fell 6.3 percent through April and 10.5 percent in March alone.”
TWGA Offers Two New Reports on Packaging
TrendWatch Graphic Arts (TWGA), a company that specializes in the assessment of trends and changes in the graphic communications markets, is offering two new reports that provide a comprehensive analysis of the issues and trends impacting consumer product companies and printer/converters in the packaging industry.
According to TWGA, the packaging industry has long been a target of players in the graphic communications community, but the first step toward understanding this marketplace is throwing out preconceptions about technology, workflow, interrelationships or other factors based on the commercial printing industry. The company reports that the packaging industry offers a tremendous new revenue stream, but it requires a dedicated approach. TWGA has developed these two reports to enable consumer packaging companies, packaging printers and converters as well as suppliers to both the printing and packaging industries to understand the trends.
The reports, “TWGA Packaging 2003 Directional Trends Survey: Consumer Product Companies” and “TWGA Packaging 2003 Directional Trends Survey: Converters,” offer a targeted perspective of two distinct segments.
Highlights from the reports include: 32 percent of all consumer product companies (CPCs) saw their business conditions as “excellent, better than the last 12 months,” as did 42 percent of the largest CPCs compared to 30 percent of the smallest CPCs; 24 percent of converters said business conditions had been “excellent, better than the last 12 months,” while 49 percent said that business conditions were about the same; the number one planned investment among CPCs is a digital camera, with 48 percent planning to make this purchase in the next 12 months; and 36 percent of all converters plan to invest in computer-to-plate systems in the next 12 months. Among independent converters, this rises to 42 percent.
TWGA is offering a special introductory rate of $1595 per report or a package price for both reports of $2690. For more information, call (866) 873-6310 or go to www.trendwatchgraphicarts.com.