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April 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Down; Twelve Consecutive Months of Comparative Shipment Increases Comes to an End

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 #67.” This report is free to Premium Members of WhatTheyThink.

This report is available for immediate purchase for others at:


April 2011 commercial printing shipments were $7.08 billion, down -$109 million (-1.5%) compared to 2010. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were down -$366 million (-4.5%). “This shift in April shipments may indicate that another restructuring of the communications marketplace is now underway,” explained Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center. “We expected that this would begin in the Fall, but it may be starting a few months sooner than originally expected.”

Dr. Webb continues to emphasize that print businesses and their executives need to urgently prepare and aggressively participate in the media changes that are underway. “General economic indicators are softening, with GDP for the first quarter only +1.8%, and unemployment still at 9%. In light of the slower-than-expected economy, businesses are likely to re-examine their communications budgets and possibly shift spending to other media. They believe they can manage their costs and take advantage of new technologies at the same time. Print businesses need to be involved in those decisions with their expanded media capabilities to assist them in their decisions, and potentially manage their media deployment and logistics.”

Dr. Webb believes that “2011 is likely to be a critical transitional year requiring urgent and decisive actions by print executives. Creative destruction is a painful process, and it often comes without much warning, but our industry has had breathing room to adjust this past year, and many printers took advantage of that.”

The latest report includes a discussion of April's shipments, Canada's March shipments, and updated forecasts for the North American printing industry to 2017. It also includes a discussion of the latest inflation-adjusted revenue trends for publishing and advertising industries. “Agency revenues have rebounded as they have adjusted their businesses to be more involved in digital media and digital media production. The publishing businesses are still experiencing erosion of their revenues.”

The Monthly Printing Shipments Report contains both current and inflation-adjusted analysis of commercial printing and print services shipments, and forecasts for 2011 through 2017. 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.

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 online 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. Serving a membership base of more than 50,000, WhatTheyThink also hosts webinars and live events as well as providing content through a syndication program, which delivers content directly to related websites and through RSS. The organization also provides consulting and speakers bureau services to the industry.


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