New WhatTheyThink Special Outlook Report Looks Ahead to 2020 and Beyond

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The new Printing Outlook 2020 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 2020.  

WhatTheyThink is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Printing Outlook 2020 now available at the WhatTheyThink Report Store.

Some highlights:

  • 48% of respondents to our Fall 2019 survey said that 2019 revenues had increased by six percent or more compared to 2018.
  • 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 adjusted for inflation.
  • “Pricing” is now reported by print business owners as their number one challenge, with “competition from other print providers” a close second.
  • “Customers outsourcing more work to us” and “partnering with other print providers” were cited as the top business opportunities for 2020.
  • Few print businesses have any substantial planned investments for 2020, but of those who do, binding and finishing equipment tops the list.
  • One-half of print businesses said they plan to hire staff in 2020, primarily sales people.

The executive report was prepared by Richard Romano and looks back at 2019 and ahead to what the industry can expect, economically and technologically, in 2020. The report features the results of the WhatTheyThink Printing Industry Business Outlook Survey conducted in Fall 2019, and includes current and expected business conditions, top business challenges, top business opportunities, and planned investments for 2020. 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 2028, as well as some technology and cultural trends the industry should prepare itself for in 2020.

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, 2019 was the best year since 2016 and marked what we might call a ‘printing renaissance,’” said Richard Romano. “This was reflected in our survey’s positive business conditions results—although our respondents were cautious in their optimism for 2020. There is no doubt that specialty printing applications—like all the iterations of wide format—have contributed to this rebirth. Still, challenges lie ahead, and the impending emergence of 5G cellular networks which could further disrupt the demand for print.”

The report is available in the WhatTheyThink Report Store at  https://store.whattheythink.com/downloads/printing-outlook-2020/.