Info. Center
News: The dynamics of the print industry
The printing industry encompasses a ’wide’ range of activities and products. It includes printers who receive most of their work in the form of individual jobs (job shop mentality) to produce printed matter.

The Customers
By far the largest single market is the production of ’advertising literature’ (including brochures, direct mail and commercial catalogues) which at present accounts for 50% total sales (but this sector is in decline except for direct mail).

Digital Display Printing is a major growth area in the future to traditional media printed products, whether home produced or imported.

Output of Printed Products
The direct mail market has been among the most successful sectors in recent years, having grown by more than 150% over the past 12 years. But, lower company profitability and confidence has hit spending on advertising and promotions, the largest single source of printing industry revenue. Also, there has been a rapid rise in Digital Display Printing In POP/POS and large personal wrap’s on buildings.

Official statistics from the Office for National Statistics show that sales of advertising literature fell in 2001, the first time in six year and continues to fall year-on-year. Figures from the Direct Mail Association show that expenditure on mailing reached £2.2 billion in 2002, representing 5.2 billion items of mail, compared with 4.9 billion on 2001. The prediction is further increases up to the first quarter of 2005 then rapid decline.

Spending on books, newspapers, magazines and stationery has been one of the ’weakest’ areas of household expenditure in recent years and will continue to decline. Within this, the strongest subsection has been books, although the pattern of growth tends to be somewhat erratic. Newspapers and periodicals have generally exhibited slower growth and indeed spending in this segment has declined in each of the past four years and is still predicted to decline further.

In addition, to no growth of consumer spending, printers in the magazine sector have had to contend with the effects of a complete slump in advertising. Advertising expenditure in business magazines, for instance, was down by 8%. This has often resulted in a reduction in the number of pages printed. Meanwhile leading publishers have sought to rationalise the number of print manufacturers that they work with! This will mean, cost cutting - which will push print manufacturers further into decline? This of course is a great opening for foreign print organisations to step in with even more economical prices! There will be more acquisitions to try and keep the margin up, but the trend is still ’over capacity’ with ’ridiculous’ prices!