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February Printer Confidence Index: Could There Be an Early Spring Thaw?

Press release from the issuing company

February 13, 2002 - WhatTheyThink.com and CAP Ventures have released their monthly Printer Confidence Index. The data is compiled each month from printers throughout the United States. The goal of the index is to provide real-time analysis of PRINT DEMAND and CAPITAL SPENDING expectations. Although there continues to be a negative sentiment among the 198 print providers about the conditions in their local market, we observed a significant improvement in market sentiment. Key observations for February include: - Growing percentage of companies cited improving market conditions - Print growth index improved for the first time in 3 months - Fewer printers expect their print volume to be down versus January - Net expected increase of 3.7% growth for February over January - Capital spending remains steady, high speed digital color gaining PRINT DEMAND: Over the last three months there has been a steady increase in the percentage of respondents citing improving conditions in their local market. In February, 21.6% of respondents reported demand in their local market is starting to increase or continues to increase, up from 14.9% in January and 11.7% in December. At the same time, nearly one-third of respondents indicated that conditions in their local market "continue to track down, extremely competitive pricing; we are reducing costs or capacity". In fact, the percentage of respondents citing the most negative sentiment has actually increased slightly over the last 3 months. In effect, there is a large portion of printers that continue to be mired in a difficult market characterized by overcapacity, deteriorating demand and extremely price sensitive customers. Although it is too early to make any projections for the year, the data suggests we may be reaching the bottom of the market. We will watch the next few months of data very closely to ascertain if these early shoots of growth take root. CAPITAL SPENDING: The outlook for 6-month capital purchase plans was about the same for most product categories compared with the January figures. The exceptions were high-speed digital color printers with 12.6% of companies indicating they plan to purchase in the next 6 months (compared with 8.6% of companies indicating in January that they plan to purchase in the next 6 months). Conversely, 9.2% of companies indicated they plan to purchase a digital wide format printer in the next 6 months, down from 13.4% during the January poll. CAP Ventures believes the demand for capital equipment will continue to be modest as printers defer decisions until signs emerge for sustained demand of print services. Premium Access members at WhatTheyThink.com can view demographics, charts, graphs and full analysis including: - Confidence levels by printer size. - Demand data versus January. - Print demand expectations for the next 6 months. - Types of capital equipment purchased last month. - Equipment to be acquired in February and the coming 6 months.