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TrendWatch Sees Late 2003 Recovery, More Consolidation in Publishing Markets

Press release from the issuing company

October 21, 2002 -- In its fourth annual Printing Forecast Fall Report, TWGA predicts that print professionals are expecting 2003 business conditions to improve. According to the report, printers are viewing 2002 as the bottoming out period. One-third of all printing firms anticipate excellent conditions in the next 12 months, with quick printers as the most optimistic at 44% expecting excellent conditions. Prepress firms are the least optimistic at 26% anticipating excellent conditions. And while printers expect better, they have also expressed an increasing uneasiness to invest in new technologies, preferring to hone and finesse tools already in-house or established. Anyone can tell you that 2003 will be a tough year for businesses worldwide, with research pointing to late year recovery. The challenge is in finding the opportunities that will help companies succeed, and yes there are some areas of expected sales growth. There are also sinkholes awaiting graphic arts firms. As it has in the past, the Printing Forecast Report not only looks at the past 12 months and the forces that impacted print businesses, but also maps out the "arenas of prosperity" and the "dens of technological inequity" ahead. In other words, we identify for players where money can be made in 2003, and the potholes to avoid. Highlights * Report says printers are looking to improve current technology, not add new. * Investments Up: Almost 3,500 firms plan to invest in direct-to-plate systems. This is the second highest charting in the history of TWGA surveys. * Investment Down: About 2,200 companies plan to invest in a multicolor sheetfed press; the lowest level ever in the history of TWGA surveys. 2003 Print Sales Opportunities According to the Printing Forecast 2003 report, here are some of the top sales opportunities cited for print professionals: * Digital Printing (DI/DTP): After a few false starts, digital color printing is finally "ready for prime time." Also, DI presses are now an integral part of the decision-making process when printers look to buy a new press. * Digital Photography: It is far past the early adopter phase. Print and prepress shops started adding digital photography services a couple of years ago, and the technology is one of the prime enablers of "all-digital" workflows, such as direct-to-plate and digital printing. * Wide-Format Inkjet: Printers and sign shops that specialize in wide-format can provide a wider range of substrates, inks, and finishing options than can creative firms that simply buy a big printer. Researcher's Quote "There are several market trends that seem to be establishing themselves," said Vince Naselli, Director, TrendWatch Graphic Arts. "The research points to a late 2003 recovery and as expected there is, and will continue to be, more consolidation in publishing markets. This impacts the printing markets accordingly. Ad pages may have bottomed out, but while page-counts may go up, the prices charged for them won't recover for a while. This is hitting specialty magazines hard. Consolidation among small print shops is largely over, but we expect that there will be a shakeout starting to impact the mid-size shops." According to the Report * Just over 1,500 companies plan to invest in direct-to-press (or digital imaging) systems (i.e. QM-DI); this is the third highest charting of direct-to-press systems ever. * Almost 3,500 firms plan to invest in a direct-to-plate system; this is the second highest charting in the history of our survey. * Macintosh workstations are still the top planned investment for printers, but they're down from 37% to 33%; the lowest this category has ever been. Questions Addressed in this Report * What are the forces causing change in the next 12 months? * Where are the sales opportunities and sink holes? * Where are prepress firms headed and how will hey get there? * What will be the impact of digital and variable-data printing? * What technologies will increase or decrease in importance? Price is $1,595.00 for 150 pages of text and graphics. It is available for purchase by visiting the secure TrendWatch Graphic Arts eStore online at www.TrendWatchGraphicArts.com or by phoning (866) 873-6310 toll free.