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October 2009 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Decline by $1.1 Billion

Press release from the issuing company

Lexington, KY - WhatTheyThink, the leading online media organization serving the printing and publishing industry, today announced the availability of their most current report titled “North American Monthly Printing Shipments, Issue #49.” This report is available for immediate purchase at:


October commercial printing shipments were nearly $7.7 billion, down -13% compared to October of last year. October has historically been print's biggest month, and now is in second place to March. “September through November is print's biggest three-month period, with catalog, retail, and advertising printing boosted by the holiday shopping season,” said Dr. Webb, director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center. “This year continues a trend of displacing print with new media on the part of retailers and others,” he noted. Shipments had not been below $8 billion in an October since 1994. “In today's dollars, those October 1994 shipments would be more than $11 billion,” Dr. Webb explained.

Dr. Webb portrayed the commercial printing industry situation as follows: “The communications market is very dynamic, that the guidelines for media selection and deployment are being rewritten every day. While there is a compelling case for print media as a part of a total communications strategy, the size, scope, and frequency of print use has been changing. It's up to each printing business to join in this communications chaos with new ideas, compelling services, and creative approaches directed to individual client objectives. Printers must add an ability to use new media in their own businesses and create unique multichannel programs for their clients.”

The North American Monthly Printing Shipments Report contains both current and inflation-adjusted analysis of commercial printing and print services shipments, for the U.S. and Canada, and forecasts for 2009 through 2014. Forecasts are updated every month, and changes are discussed in the report, which is comprised of Adobe PDF, Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint files, and an MP3 file of audio commentary from Dr. Webb. The cost of the report is $50.00. Those purchasing the report can easily repurpose the charts and data in presentations, webinars, and other reports.

“This edition includes a discussion of the kinds of cultural changes that the printing business is experiencing. It's a great time for new approaches and new initiatives by our industry's entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Webb. “Much of the old guard of our industry is in trouble, and new leaders typically emerge in these kinds of times.”

The report contains significant and proprietary analysis and by Dr. Webb and WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center. It is a top-level analysis of the U.S. commercial printing and trade services markets such as commercial offset, digital, and other printing processes, as well as prepress and postpress contained in the standard business classification NAICS 323.


WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center contains a blend of free and premium content for graphic arts and publishing executives. It offers an online library of primary research reports, executive summaries of economic trends, and related industry columns, videos, podcasts and webinars.

About WhatTheyThink

WhatTheyThink is the printing and publishing industry's leading media organization; offering a wide range of publications delivering unbiased, real-time market intelligence, industry news, economic and trend analysis, peer-to-peer communication, and special reports on emerging technology and critical events. WhatTheyThink also hosts webinars and live events that are timely and relevant o today's busy industry executives along with consulting and speaker services that leverage a talented pool of writers and industry analysts.

WhatTheyThink consists of flagship site WhatTheyThink.com, discussion forum site PrintPlanet.com, and industry blog PrintCEO.com.