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January 2013 US commercial printing shipments up +2.4% compared to 2012

January 2013 commercial printing shipments were $

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: March 14, 2013

January 2013 commercial printing shipments were $6.3 billion, up +$148 million (+2.4%) compared to 2012. On an inflation-adjusted basis, shipments were up +$50 million (+0.8%). This followed a poor December, where shipments were down -3.4% in current dollars. The December decrease and January increase may have been affected by small and mid-size businesses delaying expenses until January as part of their management of new tax laws. The report of the monthly shipments and its commentary are available for download in the latest release of “Monthly Printing Shipments,” available at the special e-store. The report includes Microsoft Powerpoint and Excel files, Adobe Acrobat PDF, and MP3 audio file with commentary by Dr. Joe Webb. The Commerce Department also released data on quarterly revenues of service industries. In our analysis of long-term inflation-adjusted trends, advertising agency revenues are flattening, and publisher revenues continue to decline. Agency revenues have been on an uptrend until the last few quarters, as they have shifted their product mix to include digital media and its production. The agencies have also shifted from media that required purchase of broadcast time or space in print publications to media that are more direct to the marketplace, such as search engines, social media, and especially online video. Since 2003, when the Commerce data for services were first published in a format for this analysis, newspaper publisher revenues are down -47.3%, book and other publishing revenues are down -38.8%, and magazine publisher revenues are down -15.2%.

Dr. Joe Webb is one of the graphic arts industry's best-known consultants, forecasters, and commentators. He is the director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.



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