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New PRIMIR Research Explores the Future of Print

Friday, February 05, 2016

Press release from the issuing company

Reston, VA - PRIMIR, the Print Industries Market Information and Research Organization, the market research unit of NPES, announces completion of a new research study, "The Future of Print in the U.S.—Landscape, Implications and Opportunities," authored by The Economist Intelligence Unit. According to the study, over the next decade the U.S. commercial print industry will be a rapidly changing environment as outside forces continue to drive huge change that will dampen the demand for print. Understanding the future landscape through the lens of these major outside industry drivers, can definitively highlight emerging new opportunities. Understanding preferences of U.S. consumers and the direction of both the U.S. economy and print related industries—technology, advertising, publishing and packaging—is critical.

"The Future of Print in the U.S.—Landscape, Implications and Opportunities," study identifies critical trends including the evolution of the consumer experience, the rise of data, the importance of mass personalization and product differentiation, and the role of social media in content generation and consumption. Successful printers will emerge by formulating new business models, based upon key concepts identified in the study, that leverage these outside trends to innovate, differentiate, specialize and provide new services.

According to the PRIMIR task force co-chair, Steve Mattingly, Senior Vice President, Southern Lithoplate, "This study was purposely designed to provoke thought, dialogue and even the 'great debate' among PRIMIR and NPES members, over the significant structural shifts still underway in our industry – reduced print shipments, shrinking employment and, particularly, the steep decline in the number of print establishments. Our industry can emerge from survival mode to success, through renewed dedication, adaptation and adoption through consolidation, products and services expansion, niche markets focus, and even, creation of entirely new business models and partnering strategies… we must evolve." 

While most of the trends uncovered as part of this study will drive down the overall demand for print, they will also create opportunities for print industry pioneers. Technology advancements, coupled with changes in consumer behavior, will continue to have profound impacts on the print industry. Consumers will be seeking more product differentiation, "experiences" instead of material possessions and traceability, demand more value—and be better able to evaluate their choices using technology.

Consolidation in the U.S. commercial print industry will continue as a result of the downward pressure created by outside industry forces. As the printing industry is saturated with overcapacity, buyers will look to grow their business in the next two to three years by purchasing customers, and sellers will be driven by a lack of succession planning and dwindling profits resulting from competing on price. While the exact pace of consolidation is unknown, it is likely to be more accelerated than gradual. 

Successful printers in the future will shift their businesses away from the traditional print-based model and embrace concepts, such as differentiation and specialization in a particular niche, providing new services, and improving human capital. Printers that fail to adapt will likely be acquired by larger, more progressive printers. Likewise, vendors will need to quickly adapt their business models and products to support the successful commercial printers—they will need to innovate, both in terms of products and partnerships with printers—to provide new business solutions.

"The Future of Print in the U.S.—Landscape, Implications and Opportunities" research study was recently distributed to all PRIMIR and NPES members, along with an informative study overview video that can be accessed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyS_5fFAa9E&feature=youtu.be. For more information, contact Rekha Ratnam, Assistant Director, Market Data/Research, at phone: 703/264-7200, e-mail: rratnam@primir.org, or visit: www.primir.org.


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