News, Trends

Hot Markets in the Printing Industry for 2018-19

The printing industry overview forecast of Vincent Mallardi’s “Hot Markets for Print Demand 2018-19” marks the 38th year this proprietary analysis of historical and projected patterns among principal purchasers of printing in the U.S. and Canada has been published. The annual research project is undoubtedly a complicated undertaking that requires Mallardi to correlate and aggregate direct, consensus forecast and statistical information from multiple sources to determine the overall revenues and subsequent print-buying potential for the top 25 industries/sectors.

The trends that result are undeniable, as a result, and provide an extremely valuable sales planning and prospecting tool for printing industry companies.

Combined, Mallardi contends that the Top 25 “Hot Markets for Print Demand 2018-19” account for nearly 95% of total print-related purchasing. It stands to good reason, then, that printers study these Top 25 industry verticals closely and Mallardi’s accompanying expert commentary on the types of printing that they purchase.

Top 3 Hot Markets for Printing Industry: Packaged Foods, Medical/Pharma, Publishing

Not surprisingly, Packaged Foods maintains its top spot among the Top 25 sectors with the highest demand for printed products. As Mallardi points out, the advantages of aseptic, reclosable bags are supplanting the demand for canned, jarred and dried goods and for frozen microwave offerings. This trend can best be illustrated by the very high EBITDA multiples that buyers seeking M&A deals are willing to pay for flexible packaging printers/converters in comparison to other types of printing industry businesses.

The Medical/Pharmaceutical industry maintained its No. 2 ranking compared to the previous year among categories with the highest print demand, but the traditionally print-centric Publishing/Non-Newspaper sector jumped to No. 3 from its No. 5 ranking in 2017. At first blush, it seems a bit counter-intuitive – given the print issue frequency reductions or complete demise of some consumer magazine titles. But that doesn’t take into account the proliferation of short-run, special-interest printed publications.

The book publishing market has also proven to be resilient. E-books have not replaced the demand for printed books. And high-speed production inkjet printing, coupled with on-demand fulfillment workflows, are fueling the market for short-run backlist titles, self-publishing, university presses and personalized content used within higher education.

Banking/Insurance fell from No. 3 to being ranked No. 5 for 2018. Commercial banks are being threatened by the potential rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. And the insurance/property/casualty industry has been pummeled this year from all of the claims payouts resulting from multiple hurricanes and major forest fires.

Those are just a few of the Top 25 sectors/categories that offer the highest print purchasing revenue potential.

Government, Federal/State Falls Off Top 25 Hot Markets for Print Ranking

Off the Top 25 Hot Markets list from last year is Government, Federal/State, with predictions for an 8% reduction in print demand due to spending cuts – despite a major increase for the federal budget in 2018. Mallardi points out that print opportunities still exist for those agencies that remain in political favor, such as the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. By contrast, demand will weaken for programs tied in with the United Nations, Public Broadcasting, as well as for the educational initiatives sponsored by NASA and by the Department of Agriculture.

Energy, too, failed to crack the Top 25 again this year, with predictions for a further 15% drop in print demand.

Need for Printers to Target Specific Verticals Alters Print Sales Job Requirements

The days of finding financial and market success as a general commercial printer have long passed. Consequently, highly targeted sales expertise about how to service, problem solve and fully understand the pain points of specific industries has become more critical than ever.

This may require a re-evaluation of existing salesforces, and perhaps replacing – or at least supporting – generalists with more specialized sales reps who possess strong subject matter knowledge and experience, so they can ‘walk the talk’ when calling on specific verticals that are being targeted. Just as digital printing has enabled greater customization, vertical market sectors also require salespeople with personalized, nuanced expertise in that given industry.

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