The Industry Is Turning Up. Are You?
The final numbers aren’t in yet. But based on what we’ve seen so far, our industry’s sales (all sources) increased 2.2% to 2.5% last year. That’s a nice improvement over the fractional gains of the previous two years and our strongest growth since 2007, prior to the Great Recession. Sales now total slightly over $80.0 billion, up 4.2% since 2011.
Expect recovery to strengthen further, boosting sales as much as 3.5% this year. Don’t expect it to be the rising tide that lifts all boats. As our spring 2012 State of the Industry Report warned, “there will be nothing fair or inclusive about the recovery ahead. To the contrary, it will heartlessly divide those who are prepared for what our industry is becoming from those who are unprepared.” It definitely is: The strongest performers in our research group have increased sales 25.2% since recovery began, or by an average of 8.4% per year, while the weakest have seen sales decline 12.3%, or by 4.1% per year, on average.
What do those top performers look like? And what’s the secret to being one of them? Concerning the first question, they don’t fit a particular profile. Their annual sales differ dramatically, as do their business models. And while some have diversified extensively and no longer call themselves printers, others have stayed focused on printing—including lithographic printing. Concerning the second question, there is no secret. They do a lot of things everyone in our industry knows they should be doing but never get to, don’t do very well, or mistakenly believe they’ve already mastered.
You’ll find a lot more about our industry’s prospects (including the future of print), its leaders, and the nut-and-bolts practices responsible for their success in the Epicomm State of the Industry Report 12th Edition, published last month, and the State of the Industry Update, Winter 2015, to be published later this month or early next month. Epicomm members receive a complimentary copy of both publications. Non-members can purchase copies at www.epicomm.org.