The Inside Scoop
Last year doesn't bring back fond memories for print professionals. Numbers were down. Budgets were cut. Acquisitions and mergers weren't surprising, they were expected. Were suppliers able to rebound from the loss? The answer may seem obvious but, then again, nothing is ever that black-and-white.
Many participants reported an increase in overall sales compared to 2010. On the other hand, total annual sales figures for the top 100 suppliers took a small hit from last year's $2.71 billion, coming in at $2.53 billion. There are several possible explanations for the decline. More suppliers, especially some major players, opted not to participate this time around. While their reasons remain uncertain, it would be fair to assume they were hesitant to reveal any recessionary shortcomings in sales. Perhaps some were privately owned companies as well.
Unfortunately, the individual product sectors did not offer any consolation. In line with past trends, printed forms still put forth the highest showing at $566.4 million. Nevertheless, this figure is far from last year's $683.6 million.
The "other" category, by far, suffered the most, only reaching $55.7 million (2010: $136.3 million). Common responses for this sector were:
• CDs and DVDs
• Screenprinted decals/overlays
• Printed electronics
• Lottery tickets
• Point of purchase and engineering rolls
• Laser cut and copy paper
• Index tabs
• Label and sign installations
• Cosmetic/pharmaceutical device products
• Digital book, manual, catalog, looseleaf printing
• Flag and banner hardware
Note, some of these entries may skew the "other" category because the decision to consider checks as something miscellaneous instead of a form product is left to the supplier's discretion.
There were product categories that saw a more modest decline. Once again, labels and tags took second place overall, but resulted at $394.5 million (2010: $456.9 million); commercial print averaged $331.5 million (2010: $391.7 million); digital print came in at $69.5 million (2010: $81.2 million); promotional products accounted for $303.8 million (2010: $313.6 million); plastic products/cards only reached $106.9 million (2010: $148.4 million); and envelopes/folders/stationery comprised $164.9 million of sales (2010: $190.1 million).