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InfoTrends study reveals opportunities, threats for print

Jun 21, 2011 12:00 AM

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InfoTrends’ latest study, “Production Print Services in North America: An Evolution in Progress,” reveals how changing customer behaviors and economic pressures are shaping the future for print service providers. These factors are requiring printers to become more innovative, productive and cost effective. Value-added services are expected to be a high growth area in the print-for-pay and in-plant markets over the next two years, although there are notable differences in how the two market segments have responded to tough economic times, as well as their future investment intentions.

InfoTrends gathered responses from 687 print service provider professionals to gain a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities and issues impacting these markets. In addition to the traditional printing industry segments such as commercial litho, digital printing specialists, quick/franchise, and in-plant print centers, InfoTrends obtained substantial feedback from direct mailers, data processing service bureaus, and in-plant data centers.

“The analysis reveals that value-added services will grow 18% over the next two years based on an estimated percentage of income,” says Steve Adoniou, a director for InfoTrends. “However, print-for-pay establishments are more aggressive in investing in their businesses and targeting other customer segments, such as marketing professionals, in addition to traditional print buyers. Although in-plants’ revenues were hit harder during the weak economy, they have a lower propensity to invest in new capabilities and service offerings.”

The study highlights “a clear transition in the market, as digital continues to cannibalize offset print volumes.” Approximately 70% or more of both in-plants and print-for-pay establishments agreed that print is migrating increasingly to full color and that run lengths are getting shorter. The key issue, according to InfoTrends, is that notable percentages of both groups are not seeing revenue growth. This is a critical factor driving significant market consolidation and the need to invest in new capabilities.

Key findings show that the highest growth areas are: web-to-print / e-commerce; web hosting; customer relationship management (CRM); customer acquisition and loyalty programs; campaign management; and mobile 2D barcode campaigns. At least 50% of respondents state that they currently offer these services or plan to offer them in the next two years.