Where Digital Dominates
As of January 2006, InfoTrends’ On Demand Printing & Publishing Consulting Service, Weymouth, Mass., reported that digital printing accounted for only 3 percent to 4 percent of the total commercial printing market, so the potential for growth is practically unlimited. In fact, InfoTrends predicts that the number of pages printed on production color devices in the United States will grow from 27.5 billion pages in 2005 to more than 161 billion pages in 2009 at a compound annual growth rate of 42 percent.
“While the majority of printed pages out there are offset, there are actually more jobs, although smaller runs, being produced digitally today,” observed Anselm. “Digital offers new ways to profitability, but it is a different business model. You will have a different velocity and a slightly different overhead when dealing with runs of 1,000 pieces vs. 20,000 pieces.”
Said Sipherd, “Adopters are increasing. More creative agencies are gaining an understanding of customer/marketplace trigger points and how to build relationships using high-quality collateral. They’re reaping great benefits,” he observed, “but, it takes data from IT, a savvy marketing manager and a creative agency to put it all together.”
Distributors are also playing an important role in growing digital print volume as they increasingly think in terms of offering print programs rather than quoting print jobs. “They should look at applications that are making the migration, learn how they’re getting done and then find providers who can do it,” suggested Sipherd. “Distributors need to understand that this is where their end customers’ competitors are going. So, if they want to keep their customers, they better get on board quickly.”