Quick and small commercial printers now expect sales to come in relatively flat (-0.3%) for all of 2011—a sharp reversal from the expectation of 5.1% gains they expressed in May—according to the latest Quick and Small Commercial Printers Trends Report from the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL)/National Association of Quick Printers (NAQP).
The report, sponsored by Xerox, also found that less than 40% of those surveyed now expect their business to grow this year, still higher than the 31.6% who expect sales to decline, but down sharply from a few months ago. “We’ve definitely lost the momentum that we had coming into 2011,” notes NAPL Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Andrew Paparozzi. “While the reasons for the falloff in expectations can be company specific, the sputtering economy and high level of uncertainty are among the overarching factors.
“The economy is drifting, with little to suggest it is about to snap back anytime soon,” he adds. “Uncertainty stems not only from a faltering economy, but from healthcare, tax, and regulatory policy. And given the atmosphere in Washington, it would not appear that the clouds of uncertainty are about to recede anytime soon.”
The eight-page report details trends in payroll hours and costs—including cost of goods, payroll costs, and overhead—and the pressures they are exerting on both pricing and owners' compensation. It also includes a section on strategies quick and small commercial printers are using to deal with the current business climate, ranging from sales and marketing initiatives to new services and cost controls.
“Given the unforgiving business environment, and because in our increasingly competitive and complex industry we either get better or get left behind, we asked our survey group what they would most like to improve about their companies over the next 12 months and what they were doing to make those improvements,” said Paparozzi.
“Although their responses varied according to their individual circumstances, resources and goals, there was wide agreement that improvement is most important in the areas of sales, marketing, service mix, and efficiency/cost control,” he adds. “All are essential to long-term profitability, and all are mutually reinforcing.”