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November 2009 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments at $7.38 Billion; Decline at Lesser Rate than Previous Months

Monday, January 11, 2010

Press release from the issuing company

Lexington, KY - WhatTheyThink, the leading online media organization serving the printing and publishing industry, today announced the availability of their most current report titled “North American Monthly Printing Shipments, Issue #50.” This report is available for immediate purchase at:


November 2009 commercial printing shipments were $7.38 billion, down -8% compared to 2008. This was a lesser decline than the average for 2009, which has been -10% difference on a year-to-year basis. It was the first November to be below $8 billion since 2003.

Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center, said “2009 was a tough year for printers, and the trend of displacing print with new media by retailers and others continues.” Dr. Webb believes that there is a compelling case for print media as a part of a total communications strategy, but the size, scope, and frequency of print use has been changing. “The value of print has changed considerably because of competition with other media that have greater immediacy, can have lower costs, and benefit from viral distribution. Nonetheless, there is a place for a well-planned use of print that intensifies the effectiveness of electronic media, driving down the total costs of communications, and increasing total response. Printers must demonstrate skills in new media use in their own businesses to have credibility in this new marketplace.”

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 files, and an MP3 file of audio commentary from Dr. Webb. The cost of the report is $50.00. Those purchasing the report can easily repurpose the charts and data in presentations, webinars, and other reports.

“This edition includes a discussion of the relationship of print demand and GDP in light of the recent revisions to GDP historical data made by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The statistical relationship improved, but there are some intriguing nuances to that relationship, since it still shows that stronger economic growth may cause demand for print to decline,” Dr. Webb cautioned. The report also includes a discussion about the recent printing employment forecasts for 2018 that were published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“There is great disruption in the printing business. Now is the time for our entrepreneurs to step forward with new approaches and new initiatives.” Dr. Webb concluded that “Much of the old guard of our industry is in trouble, and new leaders typically emerge in these kinds of times.”

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. It offers an online library of primary research reports, executive summaries of economic trends, and related industry columns, videos, podcasts and webinars.

About WhatTheyThink

WhatTheyThink is the printing and publishing industry's leading online media organization; offering a wide range of publications delivering unbiased, real-time market intelligence, industry news, economic and trend analysis, peer-to-peer communication, and special reports on emerging technology and critical events. Serving a membership base of more than 50,000, WhatTheyThink also hosts webinars and live events as well as providing content through a syndication program, which delivers content directly to related websites and through RSS. The organization also provides consulting and speakers bureau services to the industry.




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