First Research US Industry Profile

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Commercial Printing
SIC Codes: 2732, 2752, 2754, 2759
NAICS Codes: 3231
Last Quarterly Update: 5/16/2022
Companies in this industry engage in printing on apparel and textile products, glass, metal, paper, and plastic; they may also provide lithographic, gravure, screen, flexographic, digital, and letterpress services. Major companies include Cenveo, Quad/Graphics, and RRD (all based in the US); as well as Bertelsmann (Germany); Cimpress (the Netherlands); DNP Group and Toppan Printing (Japan); and TC Transcontinental (Canada).
The global commercial printing industry generated nearly $700 billion in annual revenue in 2020 and is forecast to experience annual growth of 2.3% between 2021 and 2026, according to Valuates Reports. North America is expected to hold a significant commercial printing market share due to the early adoption of advanced printing technology by countries like the US and Canada.
The US commercial printing industry includes about 25,000 companies11 with combined annual revenue of about $83 billion. Companies in the industry may print books or periodicals, but book, magazine, and newspaper publishing are covered in separate industry profiles.
Competitive Landscape
Amid lower overall print volumes and reduced revenue, the commercial printing industry is expected to consolidate as smaller players are less able to make the necessary investments in digital print and marketing services, and other technologies necessary to survive.
Demand is driven by advertising and product needs of business customers. The profitability of individual companies is closely linked to effective sales operations. Large companies have scale advantages in buying materials like paper and ink, serving large customers with regional or national needs, and making efficient use of expensive presses. Small companies can compete effectively by offering better local service in a specific product category.
Competitive Advantages:
Digital Services - Digital technology has changed the competitive landscape of the commercial printing market. Prices for digital color pages are falling below offset printing prices, and companies that fall behind in the shift to digital printing are at risk. Growth in the industry is expected to come from short-run, on-demand, and personalized print runs. Digital print makes these types of jobs more cost-efficient.
Marketing Services - The shift to digital media has reduced demand for commercial printing, prompting some printers to expand their offerings to include marketing services. To augment print media, companies may add full-service photo and video, creative services, media planning and placement, and advertising analytics services.
Consolidation Strategy - The printing industry is ripe for consolidation. The US commercial printing industry is fragmented: the top 50 companies account for about 35% of revenue. Companies in the US and Europe are looking both inside and outside their home markets for acquisition targets, as well as outside traditional print markets to add digital media and marketing services capabilities.
Companies to Watch:
Cimpress - Netherlands-based Cimpress offers short-run, customized printing and marketing services on a mass scale. The company has an extensive stable of brands in Europe, North and South America, China, and Japan. Its Vistaprint brand in the US has helped Cimpress gain market share in the crowded customized printing services market.
Quad/Graphics - One of the largest printers in the US, Quad/Graphics has been beefing up its offerings to move beyond just printing to offer a full range of marketing services. In addition to print, capabilities include media strategy and creative services, digital channel services, and media campaign data analytics.
RR Donnelly - A chief rival of Quad/Graphics, RR Donnelly also aims to be a one-stop shop for customer's multi-channel marketing and business communications needs. It augments its core printing offerings with communications services, marketing and brand execution, and supply chain and logistics services.
Products, Operations & Technology
Commercial printers produce magazines, labels, advertising brochures, catalogs, newspaper inserts, direct mail marketing pieces, corporate reports and ... plus:
Sales & Marketing
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Finance & Regulation
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Regional & International Issues
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Human Resources
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
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Industry Indicators
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Business Challenges
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Trends and Opportunities
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Call Preparation Questions
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Financial Information
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Industry Forecast
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Industry Websites
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Glossary of Acronyms

Historical Profiles (PDF format)

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