Commercial Printers

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 22,000 commercial printers in the US produce brochures, ads, books, packaging, business cards, and other output for clients. They are in the midst of a transition to digital technologies and electronic media.

Rapid Technological Change

The transition to digital technology has accelerated the rate of equipment change in the printing industry.

Weak Printing Demand

The commercial printing industry has seen falling demand for printed advertising materials caused by the shift to electronic media.

Industry size & Structure

The average commercial printer has fewer than 20 employees and generates $3.5 million in annual revenue.

    • The industry consists of 22,000 firms with 278,900 employees, and revenue of $78 billion.
    • Digital communications are replacing print for advertising, direct mail, magazines, books, and other business publications.
    • Digital printing has reduced the barriers to entry for commercial printing. The new competition consists of quick printing companies and companies doing their own printing in-house.
    • Industry-wide employment fell 15% from 2013 to 2022.
    • Most firms are privately-held and 85% of firms have less than 20 employees.
    • Large firms include RR Donnelley, Quad/Graphics, Transcontinental Printing, and Cenveo.
                                    Industry Forecast
                                    Commercial Printers Industry Growth
                                    Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                    Recent Developments

                                    May 17, 2024 - Weaker Industry Growth
                                    • The commercial printing industry is expected to see negative sales growth this year and nearly flat annual sales gains over the next four years. The industry’s year-over-year sales increased by 8.5% in 2022 before dropping to 1.8% in 2023, according to Inforum and the Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc. Sales growth is projected to fall to -0.3 in 2024, then rise by 0.1% in 2025. The industry will then see weak average annual growth of about 0.1% through 2028, according to Inforum and the Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc.
                                    • Marketing budgets are down in 2024 compared to last year, according to Gartner’s 2024 CMO Spend Survey. On average, marketing budgets have fallen to 7.7% of revenue in 2024 compared to 9.1% in 2023. In the four years before the pandemic, marketing budgets averaged about 11% of revenue, but they’ve fallen to 8.2% in the four years since. As budgets have tightened, marketers are focusing dollars where they can have the most impact. In 2024, digital channels accounted for more than 57% of paid media spending, led by search (13.6%), social media (12.2%), and digital display ads (10.7%). Among traditional channels, 2024 spending was led by event marketing (17.1% of total ad spending), followed by sponsorship (16.4%), and TV (16%). Nearly two-thirds of marketers said they lacked the budget to execute their strategy in 2024 but hope leveraging generative AI will help them do more with less. Falling marketing budgets could reduce demand for commercial printing services.
                                    • Amid higher raw materials, insurance, and labor costs, many small businesses – including commercial printers – are planning to raise their prices again this year, according to The Wall Street Journal. About half of small business owners surveyed in April by business-coaching firm Visage Worldwide said they plan to increase their prices in the next 12 months, and 64% said they’ve raised prices in the previous 12 months. Some small businesses are worried their repeated price hikes will irritate customers enough to make them shop around for a better deal. Rising wages are one of the biggest headaches for small businesses. According to an April survey of entrepreneurs by Goldman Sachs, more than 80% said higher wage and benefit costs were having a significant impact on their businesses.
                                    • More than 90% of marketing professionals with print marketing programs are utilizing strategic integration of their print and digital channels in 2024, according to the Print Impact Report by integrated communications firm R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (RRD). Nearly a third of marketers surveyed said they planned to leverage AI in support of their print marketing campaigns, and another third said they were already using AI. Nearly 40% of marketing professionals said they use web-to-print technology, with the main advantages being reduced costs of on-demand printing, personalization and customization capability, more efficient workflow, and enhanced brand consistency. Senior Vice President of Growth for RDD’s Commercial Print division, Margo Yohner, said, “Modern marketers are prioritizing innovation to uphold print’s relevance and effectiveness as a tool within their omnichannel arsenals. Companies are not simply abandoning print; they're actively seeking ways to optimize its value.”
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