A Trend to Spend
TrendWatch reports that creative firms are ready to spend.
The recently released 1999 Creative Demographic Atlas and Market Segmentation Guide, published by TrendWatch, Harrisville, RI, shed some light on the print-production world's interest in technology. For the annual report, TrendWatch surveyed more than 62,000 creative companies, including graphic design firms, commercial photographers and graphic illustrators, as well as magazine, book and catalog publishers.
The good news for computer manufacturers is that print buyers are spending big bucks, or are at least planning to spend big bucks. TrendWatch reports that professional creative firms plan to spend more than $900 million on computer equipment in 1999 alone.
Who's planning to buy? Publishers are leading the demographic study with 34 percent surveyed reporting that they plan to make equipment purchases within the year. Next in line are the corporate publishers, 24 percent of which plan for upgrades and equipment additions. Advertising agencies and graphic designers also demonstrate their need for equipment by reporting that 16 percent of the agencies will purchase new equipment, while 13 percent of the graphic designers polled plan the same. For a percentage breakdown of the markets, refer to the "Estimated Equipment Expenditures" chart below.
Why is the print production industry experiencing such an explosive interest in technological investments?
Perhaps the trend to spend is a result of aging equipment or obsolescence; perhaps the numbers simply reflect the print production industry's need for speed and increased productivity. Whatever the impetus, the numbers indicate how print publishers view the sometimes overwhelming need to keep computer infrastructures current and as high-tech as possible.
Apple remains our favorite
Not surprisingly, TrendWatch reports that Apple Computer continues to be the "favorite" platform for creative professionals. Since 1997, planned purchases of Macintosh and PowerMac workstations has risen by 4.96 percent. The survey adds that 17,000 of the 62,000 creative entities surveyed plan to purchase Macintosh and PowerMac workstations by the close of 1999.
Graphic designers lead this category with 27 percent of those surveyed acknowledging their plans to purchase systems based on the Macintosh platform. Corporate designers weigh in at 20 percent. Advertising agencies and commercial photographers tie, each with a 17-percent representation. Book and magazine publishers contribute to 14 percent of the category.
For a closer look at market percentages, refer to the "Macintosh, PowerMac Workstations" chart, below.
The new kid on the block
While Apple evidently holds strong in creative markets, Windows 95/98 and NT workstations are finding their way into the print production market, as well. The TrendWatch survey reports that nearly 3,400 creative firms plan to purchase Windows 95/98 workstations by the year's end, while 1,600 firms report plans to purchase Windows NT machines.
Of those planning to acquire Windows 95/98 systems, advertising agencies make up the bulk of the category with 25 percent. Corporate designers follow suit with 18 percent; graphic designers rank next with 17 percent, followed by publishers (16 percent) and commercial photographers (15 percent). The balance of the category was almost equally distributed between illustrators (4 percent) and catalog publishers (5 percent).
Other high-tech toys
Workstations are not the only technologies on the wish lists of creative firms this year. The TrendWatch report notes that more than 3,300 creative firms plan to buy broadband telecommunications solutions. More than 6,800 firms plan to buy one or more digital cameras for print production; more than 14,000 establishments will buy digital color proofers, and nearly 9,000 survey participants will purchase color scanners.
For more information about TrendWatch's 1999 Creative Atlas, visit the company's Web site at www.trendwatch.com.