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HOT MARKETS AT MID-YEAR — ECONOMIC DEFICIT DISORDER

June 2006 BY VINCENT MALLARDI
THE ECONOMY is irration-ally exuberant. Consumers are borrowing and spending in advance of expected higher prices, and businesses are robustly investing in both productivity (read “down-sizing”) and market development. This year is on track for nominal GDP growth of 6.5 percent, with printing sales up more than 5 percent.

As economic power concentrates, nearly half the power of print will coalesce into finance, publishing, health and technology (nine of the top 25 demand sectors). Salespeople: focus below and cash in.

Banking and Insurance ($2.9T in revenues; with over $15B to print, +8 percent) is the biggest buyer and beneficiary of print. Sub-prime lenders and direct insurers are nearly doubling mail drops to $4B and print ads to $0.7B. Revenue leaders tell the results: Capital One (+38 percent), The Hartford (+27 percent) and MetLife (+16 percent). Regional banks (+14 percent) continue to merge and, along with the rest of the sector, are acquiring digital/business forms ($4.7B) and outdoor/point-of-sale ($2.3B).

Related at #11 is Investment Brokerage ($839B in revenues; with over $8B to print, +6 percent), the second fastest growing sector at 26 percent. Goldman Sachs (+60 percent) and both Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch (+28 percent) are setting year-to-year records as their second-tier participants lose share.

The soaring Dow and searing spate of M&As, including those of the exchanges, are setting records for digital printing and commercial web and sheetfed: $5.2B is the yield.

Within publishing, health and technology, printing is selectively robust by segment. In #2-ranked Publishing ($106B in revenues; with $14B to print, +2 percent), professional and educational books lead the sector at 8 percent. McGraw Hill (+26 percent) and Scholastic (+17 percent) are the bestsellers as federal spending and state adoptions increase.

Periodicals ($46B; with $7B to print, -6 percent) are shrinking in titles and run lengths. The USPS, however, which mails about one-half of all periodicals, reported equal weight through March. More ad pages! But don’t be content; new non-traditional publishing (+17 percent) must be developed by full-web printers ASAP.

Medical Products/Pharmaceuticals ($360B in revenues; with $12.3B to print, +8 percent) and Healthcare ($>2T; with $7.5B to print, +35 percent) are, respectively, #3 and #16 as buyers. Write the sales prescription: packaging ($7B), as well as digital and other commercial ($>5B each). Taking on healthy living is #17, Personal Care ($302B; with $5.7B to print, +5 percent). Hygiene and sanitary products (+24 percent) lead the sector with heightened fears of contamination and an impending pandemic.

Sales to hair, skin and suncare (+23 percent) categories are marketing to the aging population. Slow in growth, but one-half the sector spend, are color cosmetics, toiletries and fragrances (+7 percent). Deluxe packaging, POP/POS, scratch-off bound inserts and other mostly sheetfed printing could account for nearly $6B in sales.
 

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