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Industry Profile & Economics
Digital Printing and Ancillary Services
The major challenge to the industry is the slowing of total printing shipments (adjusted for inflation) over the next decade. Although nominal printing shipments (not adjusted for inflation) will most likely continue to increase, real or inflation-adjusted industry shipments have most likely peaked for the foreseeable future and are projected to stabilize or decline by as much as 0.5 to 1 percent per year to 2020 before possibly beginning to grow again around 2025.
The major cause of this challenge is the projected decline of conventional ink-on-paper print which may decrease 2 to 3 percent or so per year over the next twelve years. There are multiple reasons for the slowing of conventional print, but primarily it is the result of competition with other (non-print) media and the shifting of conventional print to digital print (in contrast there is also some increase in offset print volumes from the combination of offset and digital printing in some print jobs). Even with this decline, however, conventional print will remain large in an absolute sense. Currently, conventional ink-on-paper print comprises around two-thirds of total printing volume in the U.S. or approximately $111.6 billion in annual shipments. By 2020 this volume may decline to around $77 billion to $87 billion (in real terms—it should grow on a nominal basis), thus remaining a very large business segment.
On a more positive note, there is significant opportunity on the horizon since industry shipments of digital-based print and printers’ ancillary services are expected to grow at fairly healthy rates during the same period. In fact, much of the growth of digital print is a result of the digital displacement of offset printing. Digital print currently accounts for around 22 percent of printers’ shipments or about $36.7 billion. Depending on the scenarios explored in this report, this volume could grow between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent per year. This growth is coming from two sources—conventional print moving to digital process and new business as a result of digital print’s capabilities in shorter runs, versioning, and personalization. By 2020, the growth in digital print could add $13 billion to almost $20 billion to annual industry shipments.
The other opportunity area, printers’ ancillary services, currently accounts for approximately $18 billion or 11 percent of total industry annual shipments. By 2020 ancillary services may grow by $2 billion to $5 billion in additional shipments per year.
In fact, there is potential for total inflation-adjusted printing shipments to begin growing again sometime around 2020 as the increases in digital print and ancillary services outweigh the decline in conventional printing shipments.
For additional information about these growing market segments, see the reports in this section on ancillary services and digital printing.
Published on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 (updated 05/31/2009)