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Tough sledding ahead for print

Feb 1, 2010 12:00 AM

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InfoTrends (Weymouth, MA) recently released its “U.S. Printing and Publishing Market Sizing” report for 2008-2013. While the consulting firm maintains that the economy will resume its recovery, which began in Q3 2009, it believes that the printing industry will remain in decline until at least 2013.

What developments are challenging print's role as a primary medium of communication? In the early 2000s, the Internet became more broadly used by both businesses and consumers as high-speed broadband Internet connectivity became mainstream. Today, the Internet is as commonplace as, or even more than, television and radio. Mobile communication technologies and social networking also have gained popularity. These technology applications and new media alternatives pose a threat to print, particularly regarding marketing communications. In addition, e-presentment continues to impact statements, bills, invoices, and other transactional documents; and e-readers and other related technologies are impacting books and periodicals.

Silver lining: new print applications

The researchers did find some bright spots. “There are several factors that will help the industry maintain a certain level of vitality,” says Steve Adoniou, an InfoTrends associate director. “New print applications are still evolving, particularly through the use of variable data and personalization. Already a highly relevant and effective form of communication, this will make print an even more powerful communications tool.

Furthermore, technologies such as QR codes and augmented reality are enabling print to become an interactive means of communication. We believe that these factors will contribute to keeping print alive in the years to come.”

About the numbers

InfoTrends' “U.S. Printing and Publishing Market Sizing 2008-2013” provides an overview of the 2008 market, including the number of establishments and the value of shipments. The numbers are built upon 2007 U.S. census numbers, and the forecast figures represent estimates based on the assessment of a range of industry data. This document also provides a growth estimate for the value of shipments in the U.S. printing and publishing market between 2008 and 2013.


What is a QR code?

QR (“quick response”) codes are two-dimensional barcodes orginally created to track parts. QR codes storing addresses and URLs can be included on direct mail pieces, print ads, signage, business cards, etc. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader software can scan the image of the QR code, causing the phone's web browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL. See “Using QR codes to Grow Your Business” at

2010 Industry Summit

The NPES 2010 Industry Summit (Baltimore) combines Print Outlook 2010, which will take place March 22 and 23, and the PRIMIR Spring Meeting on March 23 and 24. See