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December 2009 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments at $7.26 Billion; Total Shipments for Year are $88 Billion

Monday, February 08, 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 #51.” This report is available for immediate purchase at:


December 2009 commercial printing shipments were $7.26 billion, down -6.8% 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 December to be below $7.5 billion since 1994, which would be roughly $10 billion adjusted for the value of today's dollars.

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. The longer the slow economic times last, the more entrenched these new media budget allocations will be.” Dr. Webb emphasized that print businesses will continue to be under pressure to merge and consolidate because of these shifts. “The most successful print businesses had specialized equipment and processes that were targeted to the exact needs of those markets, such as magazines, catalogs, and newspaper inserts. The higher profits those organizations enjoyed for many years were the rewards they had for concentrating on those niches. It wasn't until those niches started to contract that the printers realized that specialization had risks, which were often underestimated, that quickly eliminated those rewards.”

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 an important discussion about forecasting,” Dr. Webb said. “We took our printing shipments data series and explored what the forecasts for our industry would have been if we used our same models back in 2000. The results were fascinating, especially when comparing the different forecasting models, and the different forecasts that were made by using current dollars and inflation-adjusted dollars. It's a valuable lesson in the proper role of statistical forecasting, and especially their use in building alternative scenarios in strategic planning.”

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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