COVID-19 Print Business Indicators Research: Volume 1, Number 1

Download Volume 1, Number 1

The results of the first survey indicate a deep contraction across the printing industry. Sales fell 53.7%, on average, between mid-March and mid-April for all companies surveyed, and there are no signs of an upturn, yet. Still, printing companies are maintaining an attitude of determination and taking action to protect and position their companies to survive the crisis.

This report presents the results of our first survey. It is organized in four sections:

  • Section 1: Participant Profile. Number of companies surveyed, size, primary printing segment, and geographic location.
  • Section 2: Key Metrics. Three metrics are presented for all companies surveyed and by primary printing segment:
    • Percent change in sales over the last 30 days to measure the depth of the contraction. We chose the last 30 days (the third week in March through the third week in April) rather than the first calendar quarter to capture the full effects of the crisis: Economically, 2020 got off to a strong start. It wasn't until mid-March that the bottom dropped out.
    • Index of current business indicators to measure the breadth of the contraction and determine when it has hit bottom. The index monitors sales, production, employment, prices, and pre-tax profitability. A reading above 50.0 means more printing companies report business is picking up than report it is slowing down, while a reading below 50.0 means the opposite.
    • Index of leading business indicators to identify the first signs of recovery and how recovery is likely to progress. The index monitors work-on-hand, estimate activity, production payroll hours, and confidence. A reading above 50.0 suggests activity will be picking up during the months ahead, while a reading below 50.0 suggests the opposite.
    • Representative comments on current and expected business conditions (we got nearly 350) are also included to put the metrics in context.
  • Section 3: Taking Action. What printing companies are doing to protect themselves from the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Section 4: The Economy. The outlook for the American economy and what it will mean for the printing industry.

For information about COVID-19 Printing Business Indicators Research, please contact our research team at: research [at]