Market Watch

May 2010 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up 3.6 Percent Versus 2009; April Shipments Revised Up


May 2010 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up 3.6 Percent Versus 2009; April Shipments Revised Up

May 2010 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up 3.6 Percent Versus 2009; April Shipments Revised Up

WhatTheyThink, an online media organization serving the printing and publishing industry, now offers its most current report titled “North American Monthly Printing Shipments, Issue #56.” This report is now a new benefit for Premium Members of WhatTheyThink. According to the report, May 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.3 billion, up 3.6 percent compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up 1.6 percent. April shipments were revised up by $300 million, giving the industry a net gain in shipments for two consecutive months for the first time since January and February 2008.

“This is the first gain in shipments on an inflation-adjusted basis since October and November of 2007,” said Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink’s Economics and Research Center.

For the first five months of 2010, shipments are down 2.4 percent on a current dollar basis and 4.4 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis. Dr. Webb said that “2009 was a dreadful year, but our models indicate that the industry’s sales levels for the rest of the year are likely to be flat with last year. We are still well below the 2008 levels by about $1 billion in shipments per month, but we may finally have some breathing room as more printers are reporting increases in sales and more also have positive bottom lines.” Dr. Webb stated that the industry has lost many of its weaker firms, and better-run companies have been picking up what remained of their sales.

The latest report includes a discussion of May’s shipments, Canada’s April shipments, and updated forecasts for the U.S. industry to 2016. Dr. Webb’s audio commentary also includes a discussion about how employment trends have affected the industry’s recent profitability. “Since this report is now free to our Premium Members, some background about our methodologies and the rationale of inflation adjustment is in order,” explained Dr. Webb.

“The North American Monthly Printing Shipments Report” contains both current and inflation-adjusted analysis of commercial printing and print services shipments, for the U.S. and Canada, and forecasts for 2009 through 2016. Forecasts are updated every month, and changes are discussed in the report, which is comprised of Adobe PDF, Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint filesand an MP3 file of audio commentary from Dr. Webb. The cost of the report is $50. Those purchasing the report can easily repurpose the charts and data in presentations, webinars, and other reports.

The report contains significant and proprietary analysis and by Dr. Webb and WhatTheyThink’s Economics and Research Center. It is a top-level analysis of the U.S. commercial printing and trade services markets such as commercial offset, digital, and other printing processes, as well as prepress and postpress contained in the standard business classification NAICS 323.

WhatTheyThink’s Economics and Research Center contains a blend of free and premium content for graphic arts and publishing executives. The center offers an online library of primary research reports, executive summaries of economic trends, and related industry columns, videos, podcasts and webinars. “The North American Monthly Printing Shipments Report” report is available for immediate purchase at