WhatTheyThink

Industry Data

This section focuses on analyzing the structural change of the industry. As a service to the printing and publishing industries, WhatTheyThink provides access to economic, industry trends and other data that is valuable to industry executives for strategic planning and research purposes.

Industry Snapshot Table Image
Printing Industry Snapshot

A collection of regularly updated industry data about various measures of business activity. Continuously updated.

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Monthly Commercial Printing Shipments Table Image
US Commercial Printing Shipments

US commercial printing shipments. Updated monthly.

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Monthly Commercial Printing Shipments Table Image
US Commercial Printing Establishments

The number of establishments in the US organized by NAICS (North American Industrial Classification System). Updated annually.

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TODO
Printing Outlook 2020 - The WhatTheyThink Overview of the Current State of the Printing Industry

The Printing Outlook 2020 report provides detailed analysis of the latest WhatTheyThink Printing Industry Survey, the latest industry economic data and macroeconomic trends, as well as industry and cultural technological trends to look out for in 2020 and beyond.

Updated April 28, 2020 to include a COVID-19 Survey that we conducted Late March/Early April 2020.

Purchase Report

Data Analysis
April Printing Shipments—Here We Go
April Printing Shipments—Here We Go

As we expected, April 2020 printing shipments took a tumble—falling from $7.18 billion in March down to $6.56 billion. Hmm...what could have caused that? Full Analysis

Book Publishing Establishments—2010–2017
Book Publishing Establishments—2010–2017

In 2010, there were 2,973 US book publishing establishments; by 2017, that number had dropped to 2,440. Book publishers are especially well-represented in Non-Employer Statistics. Full Analysis

A Tale of Two Cities: The Pandemic Years
A Tale of Two Cities: The Pandemic Years

Annualized profits for Q1 2020 took a nosedive from $990 million to -$4 billion. Sure, the pandemic hit in the last three weeks of the quarter, but this is an old story that predates COVID. Full Analysis

Periodical Publishing Establishments—2010–2017
Periodical Publishing Establishments—2010–2017

In 2010, there were 7,221 US periodical publishing establishments; by 2017, that number had dropped to 5,279. Magazines have been struggling in the Internet age, with closures and consolidations, but also have been seeing a shift in what constitutes “periodical publishing.” Also: we’re officially in a recession (surprise). Full Analysis

Graphic Arts Employment—April 2020
Graphic Arts Employment—April 2020

Here we go: in April 2020, the overall printing employment was down -19.2% from March and down -21.4% from April 2019. We’ve been expecting this. Full Analysis

Newspaper Publishing Establishments—2010–2017
Newspaper Publishing Establishments—2010–2017

In 2010, there were 7,794 US newspaper publishing establishments; by 2017, that number had dropped to 7,222. The newspaper industry’s woes have been well-documented, but the trouble started well before the Internet era. Also: Q1 GDP revised down. Full Analysis

March Shipments—Crest of a Wave
March Shipments—Crest of a Wave

As we kind of expected, at $6.96 billion, March shipments were up from February’s $6.48 billion, and well enough above March 2019’s $6.75 billion. Full Analysis

Prepress and Postpress Services Establishments—2010–2017
Prepress and Postpress Services Establishments—2010–2017

In 2010, there were 2,080 establishments offering prepress and/or postpress services; by 2017, that number had dropped to 1,375. It’s not difficult to understand why the number of these establishments has been dropping: prepress is being absorbed into the printing process itself (especially in digital printing), and more print businesses are acquiring their own finishing capabilities. Full Analysis

Graphic Arts Employment—March 2020
Graphic Arts Employment—March 2020

Another of the Scenes from the Before Times: in March 2020, the overall printing employment was virtually unchanged from February (-0.7%) and on a year-over-year basis is down -3.1%. Obviously, this is the calm before the storm. Full Analysis

Book Printing Establishments—2010–2017
Book Printing Establishments—2010–2017

According to the latest edition of County Business Patterns, in 2017 there were 500 establishments in NAICS 323117 (Book Printing Establishments). This represents an decline of -6.7% since the decade began. In other data news, the BEA released Q1 2020 GDP growth. Click on through, if you dare. Full Analysis