Printing Industry Report Reveals Critical Fault Lines
Press release from the issuing company
NEW YORK -- May 7, 2007 -- The Industry Measure (formerly TrendWatch Graphic Arts) has released its 25th twice yearly comprehensive market survey of the commercial printing industry, IM Printing #25. In addition to the traditional full-size Executive Report (including Executive Highlights and Executive Summary), the Spring 2007 are also available in a standalone Executive Summary format for smaller budgets.
Topics covered include:
- Business conditions
- Sales opportunities
- Business challenges
- Planned investments
- New media/non-print services
- JDF-compatible equipment (have purchased, plan to purchase)
- Binding & finishing equipment (inline, near-line, offline)
- Binging & finishing process (changes in project volumes)
- Digital printing (in-house, outsourced)
- RFID implementation
- File formats used
- Web-to-print adoption, uses, software models
- Project volumes (changes by type)
Key Conclusions from the Report
This report contains more analysis than previous reports, and regardless of the category, the analysis dovetails back to the same issue: the disconnect between the need for print and prepress firms to make fundamental business model changes and their lack of awareness, inability, or unwillingness to do so.
To date, most of the evidence for business model change (or lack of it) has been anecdotal. For this reason, The Industry Measure added critical questions to the Printing 25 survey to quantify these issues. Additions include “capabilities of marketing/business development personnel” and “growing sales/getting new business” as top business challenges. In the sales opportunities question, “selling programs, rather than one-off jobs” and “adding marketing/business development in addition to traditional sales,” were among the top business challenges. The results were eye-opening.
Despite all the talk about the need to sell value, rather than price, a move to long-term program applications (rather than relying exclusively on static print) and a move to a business development sell rather than a traditional sell, just isn’t happening (except for certain industry sub-segments). Moreover, when the data on these and other key questions were compared to other categories, such as the addition of new media and non-print services, the adoption of applications like 1:1 print or Web-to-print, or the intent to make key planned investments, the disconnect grows. Graphic arts firms overall are simply not prepared to handle the fundamental industry shifts, from technology to sales model, that are necessary in order to thrive.
On other topics, the news bag is mixed. One positive trend is digital printing. For both color and b&w, in-house adoption levels are up. And in this survey, for the first time, planned investments for all color and b&w digital printing devices were combined, and the numbers were impressive. One surprise, however, was in Web-to-print. Despite all of the hype, the actual adoption levels among print and prepress firms are much weaker than expected, and comparisons year-over-year show high levels of stasis.
In a nutshell? In the words of country singer Toby Keith, this industry needs “a little less talk, a lot more action.”
- 35% of print and prepress firms cite “growing sales/getting new business” as a top business challenge—a strong number, but less important to respondents than “pricing”;
- 28% of print and prepress firms cite “making our Web site more interactive” as a top sales opportunity, jumping from fourth to first place;
- 21% of print and prepress firms say they offer some kind of new media or non-print services;
- The number one type of customer cited by print and prepress firms is “non-profits or local community organizations”;
- 6% of print and prepress firms plan to invest in Web-to-print in the next 12 months.
Printing 25, both the full report (including Executive Highlights and Executive Summary) and the Executive Summary (only), are available as PDFs. The full version of the report contains “hot links” to the original Excel spreadsheet data. By clicking the “Data Link” eyeball icon next to any chart or table, customers can automatically launch an Excel spreadsheet containing the relevant data in order to do more detailed data mining.
The Industry Measure Printing 25 is available for purchase by visiting the secure The Industry Measure eStore online at www.theindustrymeasure.com or by phone at 866-873-6310. The price for the 222-page Executive Report is $4,750. The Executive Summary is available as a standalone version for $349. The Industry Measure eStore customers can download this report in PDF Acrobat format immediately after purchase.
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