TWGA POLL HINTS AT OPTIMISM
A research firm specializing in the market trends of the graphic arts, printing, and creative industries recently released its fall report revealing an optimistic outlook by printers for 2004.
The poll of printers resulted in TrendWatch Graphic Arts' (TWGA) Fall Business Conditions Index, which exceeded 30.00 for the first time since spring 2001, and shows 39% of printers who responded predict "excellent" conditions in 2004. In spring 2003, 13% of printers that responded predicted excellent conditions in 2004.
Even with that hint of optimism 82% of those polled say any hope for improvement is directly tied to economic conditions, a significant increase from the 25% of printers that responded this way in spring 2003. This despite many indicators that show an economic recovery isn't necessarily related to a growth in profits.
"So many printers are waiting for the economy to turn around and fix their business," says Vince Naselli, director of TrendWatch Graphic Arts. "Trend after trend shows that the economic rebound is not going to significantly help printing companies turn sales around." Naselli says those businesses that will have success meeting the needs of the graphic arts industry in the future are printers who embrace emerging technologies, such as digital printing, short-run color, personalization, value-added services, cross media, CIM, JDF, and CIP4.
The poll also found 56% of the respondents plan to invest in Macintosh workstations, a significant rise from the 18% that said in spring 2003 they would invest in Macs. Other findings show printers see viable sales opportunities in variable data printing, customer training, broadening digital printing services, and a more interactive Web site. TWGA analyses current trends to inform vendors, commercial printers, and suppliers what they should expect in 2004 to help manage and allocate resources. TWGA uses information from trade magazines, consultants, and interviews with printers and print buyers to compile the report.