WhatTheyThink

Industry Data

This section focuses on analyzing the structural change of the industry. As a service to the printing and publishing industries, WhatTheyThink provides access to economic, industry trends and other data that is valuable to industry executives for strategic planning and research purposes.

Industry Snapshot Table Image
Printing Industry Snapshot

A collection of regularly updated industry data about various measures of business activity. Continuously updated.

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Monthly Commercial Printing Shipments Table Image
US Commercial Printing Shipments

US commercial printing shipments. Updated monthly.

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Monthly Commercial Printing Shipments Table Image
US Commercial Printing Establishments

The number of establishments in the US organized by NAICS (North American Industrial Classification System). Updated annually.

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TODO
Printing Outlook 2020 - The WhatTheyThink Overview of the Current State of the Printing Industry

The Printing Outlook 2020 report provides detailed analysis of the latest WhatTheyThink Printing Industry Survey, the latest industry economic data and macroeconomic trends, as well as industry and cultural technological trends to look out for in 2020 and beyond.

Updated April 28, 2020 to include a COVID-19 Survey that we conducted Late March/Early April 2020.

Purchase Report

Data Analysis
May Printing Shipments—Now It’s Serious
May Printing Shipments—Now It’s Serious

Printing shipments for May 2020 came in at $6.42 billion, down from $6.51 in April and way down from $7.21 billion back in January. This may be as dire as shipments get, but we don’t expect to break $7 billion again for a long while. Full Analysis

Graphic Design Services—2010–2018
Graphic Design Services—2010–2018

In 2010, there were 15,390 establishments in NAICS 54143 (Graphic Design Services). After something of a contraction due to the Great Recession, graphic design establishments started to grow again, peaking at 15,776 establishments in 2018. In addition, we estimate there were an additional 119,037 freelance graphic design establishments in 2018. In macro news: GDP falls off the cliff. Full Analysis

Graphic Arts Employment—June 2020
Graphic Arts Employment—June 2020

As the song goes, “getting better all the time (can’t get any worse)”: in June 2020, overall printing employment is up +1.1% from May, although down -15.5% from June 2019. So a lot of the April damage is continuing to reverse itself. Full Analysis

Directory and Mailing List Publishing Establishments—2010–2017
Directory and Mailing List Publishing Establishments—2010–2017

In 2010, there were 1,641 US directory and mailing list publishing establishments; by 2017, that number had plummeted to 756. Full Analysis

April Printing Shipments—Here We Go
April Printing Shipments—Here We Go

As we expected, April 2020 printing shipments took a tumble—falling from $7.18 billion in March down to $6.56 billion. Hmm...what could have caused that? Full Analysis

Book Publishing Establishments—2010–2017
Book Publishing Establishments—2010–2017

In 2010, there were 2,973 US book publishing establishments; by 2017, that number had dropped to 2,440. Book publishers are especially well-represented in Non-Employer Statistics. Full Analysis

A Tale of Two Cities: The Pandemic Years
A Tale of Two Cities: The Pandemic Years

Annualized profits for Q1 2020 took a nosedive from $990 million to -$4 billion. Sure, the pandemic hit in the last three weeks of the quarter, but this is an old story that predates COVID. Full Analysis

Periodical Publishing Establishments—2010–2017
Periodical Publishing Establishments—2010–2017

In 2010, there were 7,221 US periodical publishing establishments; by 2017, that number had dropped to 5,279. Magazines have been struggling in the Internet age, with closures and consolidations, but also have been seeing a shift in what constitutes “periodical publishing.” Also: we’re officially in a recession (surprise). Full Analysis

Graphic Arts Employment—April 2020
Graphic Arts Employment—April 2020

Here we go: in April 2020, the overall printing employment was down -19.2% from March and down -21.4% from April 2019. We’ve been expecting this. Full Analysis

Newspaper Publishing Establishments—2010–2017
Newspaper Publishing Establishments—2010–2017

In 2010, there were 7,794 US newspaper publishing establishments; by 2017, that number had dropped to 7,222. The newspaper industry’s woes have been well-documented, but the trouble started well before the Internet era. Also: Q1 GDP revised down. Full Analysis