Industry Ratios Survey Shows Printing Profits Increasing

PITTSBURGH—August 29, 2011—The printing industry reported profits of 1.4 percent in 2010 compared to a loss of 1.4 percent in 2009, according to the recently completed “2011� Printing Industries of America Ratios Survey.” The sluggish economy and slowing print markets pulled down printers’ profitability in 2009, but improving economic conditions helped the print industry pick up steam and reverse the trends in 2010.

The average printer’s before-tax profit on sales was 1.4 percent in 2010. This was an increase compared to 1.4 percent percent loss in the 2009 fiscal year-end numbers. However, it is still below the 3.0-3.4 percent range experienced from 1995�. At that rate of increase in profits (first increase in the last three years), the industry earned approximately $2.1 billion in total profits in 2010.

Profit leaders—printers in the top 25 percent of profitability—saw profits increase significantly to 9.5 percent as compared to 7.0 percent in the prior year. This increase brings profit leaders almost to pre-recession profit levels. Prior to the recession, profit leaders reported profits in the 9.7 to 10.1 percent range. For all printers, the average profit of 1.4 percent is slightly more than the rate earned in 2001 before falling during the last recession.

According to our 2011 survey results (2010 fiscal year-end numbers), materials accounted for the largest single cost category—approximately 35.2 percent of sales—for the typical printer. Total materials expenses increased slightly in 2010 from their previous level of 35 percent in 2009.

Paper alone consumed more than one-in-five sales dollars last year. Other major costs incurred by printers included: factory payroll (24.9 percent of sales), down from 26.3 percent in 2009; factory expenses (18.0 percent of sales), down from 18.8 percent in 2009; and administrative and selling expenses (19.4 percent of sales), down from 19.9 percent in 2009.

Sales per employee for all printers increased to $147,436 up 7.4 percent from 2009 lows of $137,326. Profit leaders sales per employee rose at an impressive rate of 10.6 percent compared to 2009 to $160,873.

Additionally, sales per factory employee increased among all printers by more than $11,000 (or 10.6 percent) from 2009 figures and averaged $198,122 in 2010. For profit leaders, sales per factory employee increased by an even wider margin, growing from $202,147 in 2009 to $222,480 in 2010.

Printers use the Ratios reports to evaluate their performance against industry profit leaders. Specific reports are available for various firm profiles by size of firm, printing process, and print market segments. To view executive summaries of past Ratios volumes go to

To order your Ratios Volume click here or call 800-910-4283, ext. 770. For more information, contact Ed Gleeson at 800-910-4283, ext. 756 or

About Printing Industries of America
Printing Industries of America is the world’s largest graphic arts trade association, representing an industry with approximately one million employees. It serves the interests of 10,000 member companies. Together with its nationwide affiliate network, Printing Industries delivers products and services that enhance the growth, efficiency, and profitability of its members and the graphic communications industry through advocacy, education, research, and technical information.

Source: PIA.

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