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New WhatTheyThink Special Forecast Report Looks Ahead to 2017 and Beyond

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Press release from the issuing company

Our annual forecast provides detailed analysis of the WhatTheyThink Fall 2016 Printing Industry Survey, the latest industry economic data and technology trends, and macroeconomic trends. The report is authored by Dr. Joe Webb and Richard Romano. 

WhatTheyThink is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Printing Forecast 2017 Preview now available at the WhatTheyThink Store.  

The executive report was prepared by Dr. Joe Webb and Richard Romano and looks back at 2016 and ahead to what the industry can expect, economically and technologically, in 2017. The centerpiece of the report is a detailed analysis of the results of the WhatTheyThink/ERC Printing Industry Survey conducted in Fall 2016. Data obtained in this survey of more than 400 industry executives include current and expected business conditions, top business challenges, top business opportunities, and planned investments for 2017. Additional questions asked about shops’ intent to expand into new specialty graphics areas such as wide-format or 3D printing, as well as planned trade show and other event attendance in 2017. 

The report also offers the latest government data on printing industry shipments, establishments, profits, and employment, as well as the economy in general. Dr. Webb offers his take on what the impact of the incoming Administration will be on the economy in general, and Mr. Romano looks at what technology trends the industry should prepare itself for in 2017. The report also offers Dr. Webb’s US printing industry forecast to 2021. 

Print business owners will find the report essential for their planning, in order to put the marketplace and their strategic actions in realistic perspective. Industry suppliers will benefit from the insights into printer decision-making processes and the foundation of new industry demographic data that debuts in this report. Non-economic trends also offer ideas for what to pay attention to in the new year. 

“In last year’s industry survey, we saw levels of optimism we had not seen in more than 10 years, and that has continued all through 2016,” said Dr. Joe Webb. “However, recent data show that storm clouds may be brewing, so executives and business leaders should be cautiously optimistic.”

“It’s interesting that after all these years, the shift to digital from offset printing is still an important concern,” said Richard Romano. “While printers have concerns about the general economy—but who doesn’t?—our survey results indicate that they have moved beyond simply ‘hunkering down’ and are taking proactive steps to respond to the changing market for print.” 

The link to the report is available at



About the Authors

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. A 37-year veteran of the graphic arts industries, his “Mondays with Dr. Joe” well-known to WhatTheyThink members. He is a Ph.D. graduate of the NYU Center for Graphic Communications Management and Technology (1987), and has authored key industry books including Disrupting the Future and This Point Forward.

Richard Romano is senior analyst for WhatTheyThink.com, the leading news and information portal for the graphic arts industry, for which he curates the Wide-Format special topic page. He also contributes to many other industry publications. He is the co-author, with Dr. Webb, of This Point Forward: The New Start the Marketplace Demands, and Disrupting the Future: Uncommon Wisdom for Navigating Print’s Challenging Marketplace.


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