Quick and Small Commercial Printers 2011: Optimism and Concern

By Andrew Paparozzi
In March 24, 2011

Next week we will publish the first NAPL Quick and Small Commercial Printers Trends Report. The report will provide a quarterly update on the performance, expectations, and defining issues in that important segment of our industry. (Approximately 85.0% of our nearly 28,000 establishments have annual sales of $3 million or less and approximately 90.0% have annual sales of $5 million or less.)

The report opens as follows: “On the revenue side there are signs of life. On the cost side, payroll and overhead have been reduced significantly. There’s optimism, with nearly 70.0% of the quick and small commercial printers contributing to this report expecting their sales to grow in 2011. And there’s concern, particularly about a shaky economy and rising costs.”

Among the key results for companies surveyed:

• Sales were up in 2010 for 55.3%, up at least 5.0% for 42.1% and at least 10.0% for 26.3%.

• Sharp cuts in payroll and overhead reduced total costs to 90.4% of sales in 2010 from 93.6% of sales in 2009.

 • Owner’s compensation averaged over 9.0% of sales last year for all companies surveyed and over 20.0% of sales for the most profitable 20.0%. Productivity, as measured by sales per employee and sales per payroll hour, was the biggest difference between the top 20.0% and everyone else. 

• Nearly 61.0% expect their sales to increase over the next six months and nearly 46.0% expect to raise prices.

• Biggest opportunities include “digital color, variable data, personalized digital marketing/promotional programs, and online capabilities, such as e-mail marketing, online stores, and web-based solutions.”

• Biggest threats include “weak, inconsistent sales … due to a weak, local economy and shrinking demand for print,” and cost inflation—“Increasing supply costs that clients won’t absorb due to the fact that another hungry vendor will not pass costs along.”

The report also covers projected growth by service and how quick and small commercial printers are addressing their biggest concerns.

We’ll post a copy of NAPL Quick and Small Commercial Printers Trends Report, Winter 2011 in the complimentary download section of this site shortly. Please let us know what you think by emailing us at apaparozzi@napl.org or jvincenzino@napl.org or by commenting below.

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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