The Next Big Thing
The "other" category suffered greatly only reaching $53.4 million (2010: $171.1 million). Common responses for this sector were: CDs; freight; binders; packaging; jumbo rolls; barcode equipment; statement processing; large format signage; and office supplies and furniture.
Some of these entries may skew the "other" category because the decision to consider packaging as something miscellaneous instead of commercial printing, for example, is left to the distributor's discretion.
The remaining categories saw a more modest decline. Digital print reached $110.1 million (2010: $139.6 million); direct mail averaged $66.3 million (2010: $68.3 million); plastic products/cards landed in at $17.9 million (2010: $20.7 million); and e-commerce came in at $125.6 million (2010: $126.5 million).
Print Professional also added a new product category this year. In line with the tech-savvy suppliers, distributors are seeing new trends such as cross-media marketing campaigns and mobile marketing. In response, distributors could select web solutions (e.g., PURLs, QR codes and software). It finished off with $14.3 million in sales (only slightly above the suppliers' showing of $14.1 million).
Once again, take some time to evaluate your current business strategy and make some tweaks if necessary. This year's top five distributors firmly believe companies have to embrace and adapt to change if they want to avoid closing their doors (see p. 28). Don't think of this as a dying industry, but rather, an evolving industry.
We congratulate each and every distributorship that made this year's list and hope for better times in 2012.
(*Factors to consider when interpreting sales figures are ongoing industry consolidations and responses reporting idiosyncrasies.)