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New WhatTheyThink Special Outlook Report Looks Ahead to 2019 and Beyond

Monday, March 11, 2019

Press release from the issuing company

The new Printing Outlook 2019 report provides detailed analysis of the latest WhatTheyThink Business Outlook Survey, the latest industry economic data and macroeconomic trends, as well as industry and cultural technological trends to look out for in 2019. The report is authored by Richard Romano.

WhatTheyThink is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Printing Outlook 2019 now available at the WhatTheyThink Report Store.

Some highlights:

  • 42% of respondents to our Winter 2018­–2019 survey said that 2018 revenues had increased by six percent or more compared to 2017.
  • In terms of revenues, the strongest businesses continue to be either very small or very large shops, with the mid-size shops experiencing little revenue growth, especially when you adjust for inflation.
  • “Competition from other print providers” is now reported by print business owners as their number one challenge, with “increasing plant productivity” a close second.
  • “Customers outsourcing more work to us” and “helping customers integrate print and non-print” were cited as the top business opportunities for 2019.
  • Few print businesses have any substantial planned investments for 2019, but of those who do, binding and finishing equipment top the list.
  • One-half of print businesses said they plan to hire staff in 2019.

The executive report was prepared by Richard Romano and looks back at 2018 and ahead to what the industry can expect, economically and technologically, in 2019. The report features the results of the WhatTheyThink Printing Industry Business Outlook Survey conducted in Winter 2018–2019, and includes current and expected business conditions, top business challenges, top business opportunities, and planned investments for 2019. Additional questions asked about shops’ interest in adding new specialty graphics areas such as wide-format or textile printing, as well as shops’ hiring plans for the next 12 months.

The report also offers the latest government data on printing industry shipments, establishments, profits, and employment, as well as the economy in general, and includes an industry forecast to 2023, as well as some technology and cultural trends the industry should prepare itself for in 2019.

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, and larger cultural and technological; trends indicate where marketing professionals and brandowners will likely be focusing their promotional dollars. 

“In terms of printing shipments, 2018 saw something of a rebound from the lackluster 2017,” said Richard Romano. “This was reflected in our survey’s positive business conditions results. The industry is very much in the process of reinventing itself in a more specialty printing direction, which is where a lot of the opportunities lie. That said, we need to be wary of things like the emergence of 5G cellular networks which could further disrupt the demand for print; many print businesses dismissed the importance of the Internet in the 1990s, and of mobile in the 2000s. We shouldn’t make that mistake again.” 

The report is available in the WhatTheyThink Report Store at https://store.whattheythink.com/downloads/printing-outlook-2019/.


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