ICYMI: 2020 Top 50 Suppliers: Stats, trends and more
Just seven months ago, when Print+Promo released its annual State of the Industry Report, the conversation was different in its tone. Sure, there were whispers of a recession—will it or won’t it happen? But, the overall outlook was positive. Andrew D. Paparozzi, chief economist for PRINTING United Alliance (then SGIA), Fairfax, Va., didn’t see a clear risk of recession in 2020.
“Rather, recessions are caused by three factors: excesses, such as the real estate bubble prior to the Great Recession of 2008-09, or the dot-com bubble prior to the recession of 2001; policy errors, such as excessively tight monetary policy, poorly designed, timed and executed tax increases and innovation stifling-regulation; and exogenous shocks, such as the OPEC oil embargoes of the 1970s,” he told Print+Promo in February.
Even better, by Paparozzi’s estimates, total commercial printing industry sales (all sources, not just printing) for 2019 increased 1.7% to $87.3 billion, finishing in line with the association’s expectations, albeit at the lower half of the 1.5% to 2.5% range it had forecasted at the start of 2020.
Then, the coronavirus pandemic hit. Stay-at-home orders were issued, nonessential businesses abruptly shut down and positive cases skyrocketed. Who could’ve predicted this? And on top of it all, the country was dealing with what has shaped up to be one of the most contentious presidential elections in history.
Print+Promo had to make a choice: proceed with our 2020 Top 50 Suppliers list and hope people wanted to celebrate successes, or fill our pages with alternative content. As you can see, we made our decision, and we feel it was the right one. So, let’s break down the facts.
According to our data, overall revenue for Top 50 submissions was $2.47 billion, a slight increase over 2019’s $2.45 billion. Of the 42 suppliers returning from last year’s Top 50:
- 21 had revenue increases.
- 19 had revenue decreases.
- 2 finished evenly.
Those who have been following our lists will find similarities among our top five, though there is one exception. Not to be outdone for a second consecutive year, TST IMPRESO Inc. knocked Western States Envelope and Label Co. out of fifth place by nearly $12 million. Keith S. Walters-led Ennis Inc. held onto the No. 1 spot, earning $438.4 million—up by 9.4%, thanks to the 2019 purchases of Flesh Co and Integrated Print & Graphics.
The 2020 list was missing some notable entries, starting with Outlook Group, a trade printer that most recently placed ninth on our 2019 list with $68 million in annual sales. Other missing suppliers were the previously announced Flesh Co (2019: No. 21); Gabriel Group (2019: No. 23); Pro Document Solutions (2019: No. 39); McCourt Label Company (2019: No. 40); Bollin Label Systems (2019: No. 41); Thompson Print & Mailing Solutions (2019: No. 42); and Bestforms Inc. (2019: No. 47), which, as of June 2020, became part of the PDF Print Communications Inc. family.
While their absence was felt (collectively, those companies earned $170.2 million), it created room for eight new companies, including a first-time submitter who made the top 10. Also of note, the newcomers’ combined total was $197.4 million, so we gained roughly $27.2 million even with the loss of those just mentioned. Say “hello” to Showdown Displays (No. 7); Britten Inc. (No. 20); StickerYou Inc. (No. 34); Tranter Graphics Inc. (No. 40); CFC Print & Mail (No. 47); Total Printing Systems (No. 48); Ignite Graphics LLC (No. 49); and Phoenix Data Inc. (No. 50).
Check out the full 2020 Top 50 Suppliers list here.
In the meantime, here are a few extra stats we saw in our analysis:
- Four out of the five top companies enjoyed revenue increases. TST IMPRESO Inc.’s 13.8% rise in sales was the biggest increase.
- In all, 18 U.S. states and one Canadian province (Ontario) were headquarters to at least one Top 50 supplier. Illinois led the way with 10 suppliers calling it home, while Ohio had five. Eight other states appeared at least two times on the list, leaving eight states with a single supplier.
- This year’s Top 50 suppliers employed more than 12,000 people at 246 locations (data includes some, but not all, parent company headcounts and subsidiary or division locations). The highest employee count for any one Top 50 supplier was 2,500; the lowest was 29. Six Top 50 suppliers had 500 or more employees, and 27 companies had fewer than 100 employees.
- Of the 51 principal officers listed for the Top 50 Suppliers (one company listed more than one principal), 47 were men and four were women.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.