Market Watch

Market Watch


Printing Industry Showing Signs of Upturn

The printing industry is finally showing signs of what may be a sustainable upturn following more than two years of steep and broad sales declines, according to The NAPL 2003-2004 State of the Industry Report issued by the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL). Based on the input of more than 670 printing companies, the economic and industry analysis presented in the report is conducted by NAPL’s Printing Research Center (PERC), which produces research and publications sponsored by Heidelberg, Kennesaw, GA.

Although printing sales rose 2.6 percent in September compared to a year ago and are down 2 percent year-to-date, a look at real print sales (adjusted for deflation) shows a brighter picture. Real print sales are up 0.7 percent so far this year, following declines of 3.8 percent in 2002 and 4 percent in 2001. NAPL forecasts print sales will grow as much as 4.1 percent before adjusting for price changes, although a return to pre-recession volumes is not likely to happen until 2005. According to the report, pricing pressure – which remains strong – should let up somewhat by mid-2004, providing a much-needed boost to profitability.

Business picked up in October for 5.1 percent of NAPL’s Printing Business Panel and slowed for 18.5 percent. The general economy is showingbroad gains, with gross domestic product growing at a 7.2 percent real annual rate in the third quarter of 2003.

Andrew Paparozzi, NAPL’s vice president and chief economist, noted that printing companies can no longer rely on economic rebound, no matter how robust, to grow their business. “The economy is accelerating rapidly. Corporate profits are rising, so ad spending will too. Next year is an election year and an Olympic year. Not long ago, all of that would have meant good times across our industry,” he noted. “But now printers have to prepare for growth in markets that are getting a lot more competitive in a lot of ways. There’s a redistribution of business going on in our industry. To be on the right side of that redistribution, printing companies have to take share in markets that aren’t growing fast enough for everyone and defend market share from an expanding array of competitors.”

For more information, contact NAPL, (201) 634-9600 or (800) 642-6275; fax: (201) 634-0324; web:

Non-Paper Based Wide Format Ink Jet Media Captures 59 Percent of the Market

Non-paper based media (i.e. banner material, PSA vinyl) used in wide format ink jet printing, claimed 59 percent of all media purchased in the U.S. in 2003, according to a new study by Web Consulting. This figure is up 10 percent from 2002. The increase is due to the growing strength of pigment-based systems (both solvent and aqueous) within the overall printer installed base.

The 2003 Inkjet Media Trends is a report released by Web Consulting, Inc., a digital printing consultancy. This report presents an in-depth look at ink jet media purchasing and usage trends in the U.S. inkjet printing market including an analysis of trends of both aqueous and solvent ink jet media. Nearly 250 print shops were surveyed for the report to ensure quality statistics and an accurate representation of the industry.

There are many indicators showing significant changes in the market, according to the report. The report confirms that while the total sales generated by wide format ink jet printing continue to rise (up 7 percent from 26 percent in 2002 to 32 percent in 2003), the composition of the ink jet media purchases has shifted. For example, less than 30 percent of ink jet media purchases in 2003 were OEM-branded products, continuing the trend that OEM media usage is decreasing. The study also shows a move towards outdoor applications as printers realize the benefits of durable graphics and higher quality pigment-based inks.According to the report, almost two thirds of the applications were printed with pigment-based ink.

The 2003 Inkjet Media Trends report includes market share and performance ratings for such media manufacturers as 3M, Avery, ENCAD, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, Intelicoat, Lexjet, and Océ; and also includes other purchasing and lamination trends.The report provides data over a three-year historical trend in five traditional print-for-pay (PFP) inkjet segments (digital printers, photo labs, reprographics houses, sign shops, and screen printers) and indicates that sales generated from wide format inkjet printing has increased in each of these traditional PFP markets over the past year.

For more information, contact Michael Flippin at Web Consulting at (617) 536 5925.