The Global Recession’s Impact on Print

World Print Market by Region, 2008-2014

The global recession did a number on our industry, the effects of which we are only just beginning to see. Research conducted in 2006 for NPES’ sister organization, PRIMIR (Print Industries Market Information and Research organization), had originally forecast an 18% increase for the global graphic communications industry, from $610 billion in 2006 to $721 billion in 2011. Post-recession, PRIMIR’s updated data shows that the world print market is expected to grow by only half as much, 8%, between 2006 and 2011. According to the research, the global graphic communications industry will reach $725 billion by 2014—a full three years later than our forecasts had originally predicted.

While this may portend greater business challenges than first anticipated, our research also tells us that opportunities for growth and profit are available. We just need to know where to look.

The U.S. will retain its position as the world’s largest graphic communications market over the next four or five years. That’s welcome news, but it’s important to note that the U.S. print market will hold onto its No. 1 spot despite a 3% contraction between now and 2014. The U.S. printing industry was at $186 billion in 2009; it is expected to shrink to $180 billion by 2014.

Printers and their suppliers should therefore not only expect, but actively plan, to expand their business outside of the U.S. In particular, look to the developing countries of the East and South, where significant graphic communications growth is predicted between 2009 and 2014. Measured by regions, for example, growth is forecast to be on the order of 57% in Eastern Europe, 41% each in the Middle East and Latin America, and 21% in Asia—even after accounting for a 13% forecasted decline of Japan’s print market, currently the second largest in the world. The printing industries of North America, Western Europe and Australasia, by contrast, are predicted to decline between 2009 and 2014. (See pie chart, “World Print Market by Region, 2008 – 2014.”)

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