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Printing Industry Business Outlook and Forecast 2017



The centerpiece of the report is a detailed analysis of the results of the WhatTheyThink/ERC Printing Industry Survey conducted in Fall 2016. Data obtained in this survey of more than 400 industry executives include current and expected business conditions, top business challenges, top business opportunities, and planned investments for 2017.

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Featured Commentary & Analysis

2017: The Transformation Journey
Although the term is often overused, true business transformation is about making fundamental changes in how business is conducted to help cope with a shift in market environment. This article explores how savvy print service providers are changing their go-to-market strategies so they can sell their services in new and innovative ways.

Sometimes comedy is just the thing: Taking business lessons from improv
Many companies avoid asking tough questions because the discussion can lead to tension and controversy. How can you help promote an open and productive discussion to fairly evaluate potential growth opportunities?

That Was the Year That Was: A Wide-Format Look Back at 2016
2016 is almost over! Whew! So, what were the top growth areas for wide-format? What applications are ascendant? What technologies have emerged and evolved?

New Inkjet Press Lets Graphic Image Label Get Better at What It Does Best
A label shop serving customers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border found everything it was looking for, and more, in a highly capable inkjet web press from Epson.

Trump Inside the Beltway: Foggy with a Chance of Chaos
The Presidential transition certainly has its uncertainties. Traditional media had a tough election cycle, and that creates concern what business information executives can rely on as they make their plans. Perhaps they should just keep their heads down and focus on their customers and let the fog and chaos run its course. Small business is very optimistic, it may be too early to be so, but that’s not stopping them or the stock markets.

Cimpress Acquires National Pen: The Inside Scoop
Today, Cimpress, the parent company of Vistaprint and multiple other Internet printing brands, announced it is acquiring National Pen, a leader in custom writing instruments. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Cimpress CEO Robert Keane to get the inside scoop.

Greenery: The Pantone Color of the Year
Pantone announced the 2017 Color of the Year and it is Greenery, described as a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew.

Keypoint Intelligence: Building a Brand Strategy
InfoTrends and Buyers Laboratory, LLC (BLI) recently unveiled a new branding after a long and thorough process of strategic evaluation and analysis. Given the importance of branding to your organization and our recent experience, this article shares the journey that BLI and InfoTrends took to evolve into Keypoint Intelligence. It also outlines the steps that we will be taking to formally establish our combined brand in the market.

Frank Rant Alert: Inkjet Printer Ink Packaging
Frank goes on a rant about desktop inkjet printer ink packaging. He is so upset he does not notice the light, although it could be the heat emanating from his head.
How Brands Are Using Emerging Technologies To Reach Consumers
Tod Szewczyk directs Leovative, the Leo Burnett agency’s channel for keeping its clients informed about how brands are using emerging technologies to reach consumers. He points out that some of these solutions make good use of print as a bridge to the mobile experience and as a vehicle for calls to action. Szewczyk, a speaker at the IDEAlliance INKredible event, also mentions several technologies that he thinks Leovative’s audience should keep an eye on in 2017.
Xeikon’s Fusion Technology Incorporates Digital Embellishment and Finishing
Filip Weymans, newly promoted to the position of VP of Marketing for Xeikon, joins Senior Editor Cary Sherburne to discuss the vision for Xeikon’s future, and how the company is enabling new revenue streams and enabling increased productivity for its customers. He discusses Xeikon’s Fusion Technology that incorporates digital embellishment and finishing into a one-step inline process for digital printing and finishing.
3 Ways CHILI publisher can help grow commercial printing businesses
CHILI Publish CEO Kevin Goeminne talks about why offering online editing and publishing services can help printing companies generate new business and improve profitability. He identifies three ways commercial printers can leverage this software infrastructure to grow the business and increase customer loyalty.
Ethan Goller from Structural Graphics on Interactive Print
Interactive print, as Ethan Goller describes it, is print that combines with other media to engage recipients in a variety of ways leading to a variety of outcomes. Goller, the president of Structural Graphics, notes that one way to make print interactive is to incorporate special effects such as sound, light, and video into the printed piece. The objective, he says, should be to create “a feedback loop of intelligence” that makes sales and marketing channels more efficient.
Warren Werbitt – Called It the Way He Saw It
When we caught up with Warren Werbitt (Pazzazz) at IDEAlliance’s INKredible event and asked him what he thought of the program, “wow,” “superb,” and “pretty amazing” were among his answers. He says that what he discovered about the synergies between print and other media will help Pazzazz send a more powerful marketing message to its customers. Werbitt’s advice to print company owners who think they don’t have time for intelligence-gathering opportunities like INKredible “If you sit at your desk and never go out, you can’t learn, you can’t grow, and you can’t motivate.”

Chart of the Week

Commercial Printing Inflation-Adjusted Shipments Per Employee

Commercial Printing  Inflation-Adjusted Shipments Per EmployeeThe effects of consolidation, a challenging pricing environment, cost controls and productivity measures have sent shipments per employee to unprecendented levels. The prior peak was just before the recession began. The industry is more efficient in many ways, especially with the exit of weak and marginal establishments. But is it more profitable? In the December 15 webinar and in the new Forecast 2017 report, industry profit levels are discussed. Despite reaching new levels of sales per employee, profit levels have become tepid, a sign of tightening market conditions. In the webinar we discussed the possibility that another wave of media change is underway. The last major one was the rise of social media ten years ago, and now the growing impact of mobile media, especially this year. More info

Data Analysis Archive

Daily Dilbert

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Copyright 2016 WhatTheyThink

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