GRAPH EXPO & CONVERTING EXPO 2002 -- Showing Signs of Recovery
BY MARK MICHELSON
What a difference a year makes. Exhibitors came to PRINT 01 in Chicago last September feeling guardedly optimistic—despite the lingering effects of a soft economy and, consequently, a reduction in most printers' capital expenditure budgets. And, of course, no one could foresee the September 11 terrorist attacks that would hamper buying activity at the show and create heightened concern over the state of the U.S. economy.
Now, fast-forward to next month's Graph Expo and Converting Expo 2002 exhibition in Chicago, scheduled for October 6 to 9 at McCormick Place South. With more than 400 exhibitors filling over 360,000 net square feet of exhibit space, attendance is anticipated to total approximately 40,000 people. And, although sales expectations among industry suppliers might not be high, economic indicators signal that the U.S. economy—and the graphic arts industry, in general—may finally be poised for some semblance of a rebound.
NPES, The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies, reports that its economic forecasts show a strong upturn in equipment shipments in 2003. In fact, one forecast puts the value of machinery shipped in the first quarter of next year at more than $700 million, the highest quarterly level in two years. Those shipments would largely be the fulfillment of orders booked in Chicago in October.
For the full year 2003, DeWolf Associates, a consulting firm working with NPES, predicts printing equipment shipments will surge by more than 10 percent.
New Depreciation Rules
NPES and GASC President Regis J. Delmontagne contends that this optimistic forecast is based, in part, on a dramatically improved tax environment. "President Bush's economic stimulus package includes a number of provisions designed to encourage corporate investment in high-
productivity technology and equipment," he says. "Specifically, the new accelerated depreciation rules produce favorable conditions for investment that we haven't seen in many years."