Commercial Printing Industry Continues to Heal
At the Great Recession’s deepest sales were falling for over 89.0% of the NAPL Printing Business Panel—by at least 10.0% for 68.8% and by at least 20.0% for 39.9%—and only one-of-10 Panel members expected business to improve—a confidence reading even lower than immediately after 9/11.
In contrast, last quarter sales increased for 53.7% of our Panel, by at least 5.0% for 43.4% and by at least 10% for 30.9%, and 36.0% now expect business to improve during the six months ahead.
None of that means all’s well—or will be well anytime soon. Our gains are over deeply depressed levels and recoup only a fraction of our losses. But they are a start. And they are a reminder that it’s time to ask some tough questions:
• For companies that are growing: Is our growth likely to continue? Or is it due to special circumstances or a temporary boost so common early in recovery? Do we know? If we don’t, how do we find out—quickly?
• For companies that are not growing: Why aren’t we growing? Are we likely to in the next few months? Are we seeing any signs of improvement? Or are we in danger of being left behind by behind by a recovery that, as NAPL has long emphasized, will leave many behind?
• For everyone in our industry: How we will protect ourselves from a profit squeeze that is already tightening as our cost rise faster than our prices?
For more on the commercial printing industry’s performance and prospects as well as on strategies for beating a profit squeeze, please see the NAPL State of the Industry: Strategic Perspective 2011 to be published in June.