I recently participated in a podcast discussion where I had the pleasure of introducing the SGIA Critical Trends Report: Commercial Printing, which we will publish in November. Among the points discussed were:
Commercial printing is increasingly about more than printing. Members of the SGIA Commercial Printing Panel expect, on average, something other than printing to provide 25.6% of their revenue by 2020, up from 20.2% today and 16.2% two years ago. One member concisely states the reason why: “Our industry continues to evolve, and it is not just a print business anymore. It is about communications and how we can best help clients communicate their message.”
Revenue is growing but margins are being squeezed. SGIA estimates that commercial printing segment sales (all sources) increased 1.5% during the first half of 2018, according to SGIA estimates. Sales now total to $86.0 billion, 10.4% greater than the 2011 low. But a number of factors are making it difficult to get growth from the top line to the bottom line. Rising paper prices, cited by 61.8% of our research group, tops the list. A lack of sales/excess capacity (53.9%), rising healthcare benefits (52.6%), rising wages (46.1%), and labor shortages that force the hiring of less skilled (35.5%) follow.
The future is about thinking big—i.e., thinking beyond how print is manufactured to how print powers communicate.
The conclusion: Don’t jump right in, no matter how much buzz they are creating or how well others are doing, because of the stiff challenges and complexities ahead.
Instead, we should be asking questions such as these: