Print Outlook Speakers Predict Rosy Future
Speakers at the Print Outlook 2004 predicted improving revenues and profits for the printing, publishing and converting industry in 2004 after a long and difficult recession, but also warned that the industry still faces challenges.
Among the conscerns that face the North American market is the emergence of China as a major player, Jeffrey A. Rosensweig, associate dean for corporate relations, Goizueta Business School, Emory University, said.
"China is going to be the next big market," he said, adding China's economic power is particularly clear when the domestic buying power of its currency is taken into account.
The impact of digital printing was also addressed. Digital printing is a key engine of growth between now and 2010, said Frank J. Romano, Roger K. Fawcett Distinguished Professor at the School of Print Media, Rochester Institute of Technology, with particularly healthy expansion likely in advertising, promotional and other direct mail materials.
Other likely changes to hit the print environment may include more last-minute jobs, more capabilities to make changes right up to and during a press run, and a greater ability to have confidence in job quality with less demand for repeated proofs.
Commercial printers have lost roughly 5% of their print volume annually for the last four years, Romano said. These losses weren't easy to identify as many printers were building revenues in ancillary service areas including mailing and fulfillment. The generally poor economy also served to mask fundamental declines in print volume, Romano added.
But the national economy is "doing better than anyone expected," said NPES Consulting Economist Michael Evans of the Evans Group, and should grow by four to 4.5% in 2003.
Evans predicts sales of printing equipment sales will register a gain of about 5% in 2004, after several difficult years. He provided specific forecasts for 2004 and 2005 performance in a variety of categories of printing equipment and supplies.