Academic journal article Business Economics

Focus on Industries and Markets Business Economics and the Printing Industry

Academic journal article Business Economics

Focus on Industries and Markets Business Economics and the Printing Industry

Article excerpt

The printing industry has a large economic footprint that is dispersed through all 50 states. Based on the work of the Center for Print Economics and Market Research of the Printing Industries of America, this paper describes and analyzes the industry's segments, functions, and processes; macroeconomic drivers and competition; industrial structure; profitability; and prospects.

Business Economics (2014) 49, 122-126.

doi: 10.1057/be.2014 .9

Keywords: printing industry economics, printing industry profitability, printing industry competition, printing industry structure

This article provides an overview of the printing industry from the perspective of the Printing Industries of America (PIA), a trade association and nonprofit foundation. (1) Much of the analysis in this paper is based on key tracking metrics the association provides to its members.

1. A Large Industry Economic Footprint

The printing industry's aggregate economic footprint is very large. The PIA definition of the industry includes printing and related support activities (Economic Census code 323) plus print-related media (Economic Census code 511). Print-related media includes newspapers, periodicals, books, directory and mailing lists, and greeting cards, and covers only activity directly related to print.

Table 1 provides detailed information on the industry's economic footprint. In total, the industry produces approximately $156 billion in output annually. There are around 47,000 establishments in the industry, employing slightly less than one million employees. The average facility has around 20 employees and $3.3 million in annual sales.

Table 1. Print's Economic Footprint in the United
examin States (2012 Estimate)

Printing and related support activities

Shipments ($ billions)             $83.27

Shipments per plant ($ millions)    $2.97

Establishments                     27,977

Employment                        476,993

Print-related media

Shipments ($ billions)             $73.91

Shipments per plant ($ millions)    $3.80

Establishments                     19,154

Employment                        489,612

Total commercial printing and print-related media

Shipments ($ billions)            $156.18

Shipments per plant ($ millions)    $3.31

Plants                             47,131

Employment                        966,605

2. Industry Segments by Functions, Sectors, and Processes

Within the printing industry's overall economic footprint there are significant dynamics, and the PIA provides its members various perspectives. Its research divides print markets by function, processes, and sectors.

In terms of function, although many print products and services provide multiple functions, we sort by three major intended functions:

* Print intended to inform or communicate factual and editorial information such as magazines, newspapers, books, and reports.

* Print providing product logistics to manufactured products--packaging, labels, wrappers, and product user manuals.

* Print intended to market, promote or sell various products, services, political candidates, positions, or ideas--marketing and promotional print such as catalogs, direct mail, and brochures.

The logistics function is the highest growth function as this function has no digital competitor. Next in terms of strength is the marketing and promote function since print still provides effective marketing. The inform/communicate function is the weakest in terms of sales, as it is most impacted by digital competition.

The print industry market is divided into 31 product and service categories for the PIA "demand index," which is calculated by subtracting the proportion of panelists experiencing a drop in demand from the proportion experiencing an increase. Its 11 hottest markets have a demand index in excess of 50. A common theme in many of these hot markets is that they are web-based and focused on nonprint marketing services. …

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