Print Business Indicators Research Shows Lower Sales in 2020 but Index Reveals Business Activity Is On the Rise
To help printing companies navigate through the current crisis to the recovery on the other side, NAPCO Research and PRINTING United Alliance launched COVID-19 Print Business Indicators Research. This is the fourth in a series of reports that examines the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the printing industry, how printers are responding to the crisis, and how they can create a path forward. This survey tracks key indicators across a cross section of printing companies, including commercial printers, graphic and sign producers, apparel decorators, functional printers, and package printers/converters. Download the in-depth executive summary to understand the current status of the printing industry.
This article focuses on key findings from all printers participating in the fourth survey.
First Three Quarter Sales Numbers Highlight the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Printers
In order to gauge declines caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, respondents were asked to provide their sales for the first three quarters of both 2019 and 2020. The results showed how deep and widespread the declines were because of shutdowns and related issues as 78.5% of companies reported lower sales in the first three quarters of 2020 compared to 2019. Not all printers had to face these issues however, as 17.8% reported higher sales. Those in this group likely pivoted to COVID-related products or served industries that experienced increases in demand because of the pandemic. Among the companies surveyed, sales fell by 16.1% on average with nearly half of all firms (47.9%) reporting declines of 20.0% or more.
The Index of Current Business Indicators Shows Industry Activity Is Increasing
The index of current indicators, which tracks trends in sales, production, employment, prices and pre-tax profitability has reached 50.0 for the first time since the research began in April. It now sits at 52.2, which indicates more of the companies we survey report activity is increasing than report activity is decreasing. The index is being anchored by sales and production as more companies are now reporting that both indicators are increasing than decreasing. A majority are reporting that prices and employment are staying the same while there are still more printers reporting decreases in pre-tax profitability than increases. The index of leading indicators, which tracks confidence, quote activity, work-on-hand and payroll production hours also sits above 50.0 at 53.1, which tells us that future activity should continue to trend upward.
Want More Printing Industry Trends and Projections?
The full version of the report digs deeper into the data mentioned above plus much more!
The report includes sections on:
- Previous 30 days sales numbers
- 2019 vs. 2020 first three quarter sales for the industry and each segment
- Index data including trends for sales, production, employment, prices, profitability, quote activity, work-on-hand, payroll production hours, and confidence.
- Top concerns for printers heading into the new year.
- How many printers plan on making capital investments in 2021
- Economic and industry projections
- Election concerns and potential policy changes that can take place under the new administration.
- COVID-related sales statistics
- How long these COVID-related sales will last
- Printers’ outlook on the industry heading into 2021
Printing United Alliance members can download a full version of the report here.
Participate in the COVID-19 Print Business Indicators Research
In today’s unprecedented business environment, making decisions based on facts has never been more important. In the weeks and months ahead, reliable industry business indicators will be essential for monitoring what’s happening in all printing industry segments. The COVID-19 Print Business Indicators Research is an essential resource for monitoring industry conditions and the NAPCO and PRINTING United Alliance research teams invite you to join our business panel and contribute to the research on an ongoing basis. Companies that join the panel will receive an exclusive version of the report that includes additional data and analysis. To join the COVID-19 research panel, please click here.
ABOUT NAPCO RESEARCH
The combined NAPCO and PRINTING United Alliance research teams develop research and economic models that solve customer business problems. Market research is valuable for making strategic business decisions, solving challenges, and pursuing opportunities and the NAPCO Media research teams survey, analyze, and monitor critical trends related to marketing, printing, packaging, non-profit organizations, promotional products, and retailing. To learn more about how the team can leverage its research and industry subject matter experts to support your organization's needs contact NAPCO’s Vice President of Research, Nathan Safran, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Wilaj reports on economic and industry trends which aim to help printers navigate an ever-changing business environment
He joins the Printing United Alliance research team after beginning his career at Printing Industries of America where he analyzed, reported and spoke on key trends in commercial print and aided in the revitalization of the historic Performance Ratios program.