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March Printer Confidence Index: Overall Conditions Improving Say Printers

Press release from the issuing company

March 22, 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 is still a negative sentiment among print providers about the conditions in their local market, CAP Ventures observed a significant improvement in overall market sentiment. Key observations for March include: - Growing percentage of companies (24.6%) cited improving market conditions - Print growth index improved for the second month in a row. The index (-0.36) is still negative, but much better than in January (-0.66) - Only 10.7% of printers expect their print volume in March to be lower than it was in February. In fact, 52.7% of printers expect their March volume to be higher than their February volume. - Net expected increase of 4.9% growth for March over February - the highest increase in four months - Increasingly positive 6-month outlook for local market and their business 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 March 24.6% of printers reported demand in their local market is starting or continuing to increase, up from 21.1% in February, 14.9% in January and 11.7% in December. What is also important to note is that nearly 25% of large commercial printers (100+ employees) cited improving conditions. This group has been particularly hard hit by the recession and cost reductions sweeping through Corporate America. As a comparison, only 8.9% of large commercial printers cited improving conditions back in December. CAPITAL SPENDING: The March outlook for 6-month capital purchase plans improved for most product categories compared with the February and January figures. The exceptions were prepress (flat at 28.6% planning to purchase in next 6 months), high-speed digital color printers (flat at 9.7%) and digital wide format printers (also flat at 7.1%). All other product categories had higher percentages of companies indicating they plan to purchase a device in the next 6 months. Premium Access members at WhatTheyThink.com can view demographics, charts, graphs and full analysis including: - Confidence levels by printer size. - Demand data versus February. - Print demand expectations for the next 6 months. - Types of capital equipment purchased last month. - Equipment to be acquired in March and the coming 6 months. Plus, bonus data from the Census Bureau on the current value of print shipments and the Federal Reserve Index examining production and capacity utilization.