Far Fewer Printers but Far More Competition

By Andrew Paparozzi
In December 28, 2009

In our previous post, How Big is the Printing Industry?, we mentioned that our industry is and has for some time been in the grips of profound structural change, which has fundamentally altered what it takes to be a successful printer.

Among all the evidence of structural change, the severe decline in the number of printing establishments is perhaps the most apparent. According to NAPL’s new Printing Industry Profile: Structural Changes Increasingly Evident Within Industry
, the number of printing establishments in the United States declined by approximately 8,000—or 20.8%—between 1998 and 2008 and will decline by an additional 2,000 through 2010. (See the graph below.)

Regional establishment counts, available in the Profile, show structural change is happening everywhere.

However, as the Profile and NAPL State of the Industry publications emphasize, “although establishment counts are down significantly across the printing industry, competition is more intense and diverse than ever. Where we used to know the competition, we now have to anticipate the competition because the next wave can come from anywhere.”

And since structural change is ever present and not affected by the cyclical ebb and flow of the overall economy or the industry, it won’t just go away when the recovery finally happens. Is your business ready for structural change?


Andrew Paparozzi

Epicomm's Andrew Paparozzi, Vice President/Chief Economist, is well-known for his accurate and thoughtful discussions on the economy and US commercial printing industry. A foremost author and speaker on economic business trends in the printing industry, Paparozzi heads Epicomm's Printing Economic Research Center.

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