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PIA 2013 Ratios Show Printing Industry Profits Increasing

August 21, 2013

Rate of profit brings profit leaders to their highest level since before the recession in 2007

North American printers are learning to improve their profitability even as top-line challenges in sales remain, accordign to the Printing Industries of America (PIA). Printers participating in this years’ Ratios Survey attained average profit rates of 2.7% on sales—up from 1.8% last year. This is the highest level in the past six years, but it is still not back to the pre-recession level of 3.1% in 2008.

Profit leaders – printers in the top 25% of profitability – saw profits increase slightly to 9.9% compared to 9.6% last year. This rate of profit brings profit leaders to their highest level since before the recession in 2007.

According to PIA’s 2013 survey results, materials accounted for the largest single cost category for the typical printer—approximately 36% of sales. Total materials expenses increased slightly in 2013 from their previous level of 35.5% in 2012. Paper alone consumed more than one-in-five sales dollars last year. Other major costs incurred by printers last year included factory payroll (24.6% of sales) down from 24.8% in 2012, factory expenses (16.9% of sales) down from 17.6% in 2012, and administrative and selling expenses (19.3% of sales) down from 19.6% in 2012.

Sales per employee for all printers stood at $155,348. Profit leaders’ sales per employee were significantly higher at $171,153.

Sales per factory employee for all printers stood at $212,584. For profit leaders, sales per factory employee averaged $238,731.

Printers use the Ratios reports to evaluate their performance against industry profit leaders. Specific reports are available for various firm profiles by size of firm, printing process, and print market segments. To view executive summaries of past Ratios volumes go to:

To order a Ratios Volume, call (866) 855-4283. For more information, contact Ed Gleeson at 412-259-1756 or

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