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Preliminary Q2 Numbers Mixed: A Good Sign for the Economy

October 1, 2009
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In what may be evidence that the long–anticipated recovery may soon be here, the preliminary second quarter 2009 NPES market data numbers were mixed, with total equipment shipments continuing to decline but with shipments of total supplies increasing for the first time in the last four quarters. As the economists say, when the indicators start showing mixed results it is a good sign that the bottom has been reached.

Coupled with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s recent assessment that the worst recession in 70 years was “very likely over,” the change in direction of the total supplies shipments bolsters the hope that our industry will participate in the recovery that most economists predict will take hold in the overall economy in this third quarter of the year.

Until that happens, however, the 2Q09 equipment numbers show just how high a toll the Great Recession has taken on our industry. If we extrapolate the first half 2009 total equipment shipments to the full 12 months, as illustrated in Figure 1, 2009 will come in at $731.1 million. It is important to note that these figures do not include digital equipment, which many industry observers believe would account for much of the reported decline in shipments.

For total graphic arts supplies, the good news is that the second quarter shipments increased by 10% ($21 million) from the first quarter numbers. As shown in Figure 2, annualizing first half shipments gives a total for the year of $867.5 million, down 19% from 2008 shipments.

What is certain is that the economy will improve, and companies need to plan now to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the recovery.

To help them do that, NPES member companies have an unparalleled resource available to them: the free NPES Market Data program.

The NPES Market Data program has been providing participants with critical information on the size of the printing equipment marketplace for 50 years. The program has recently been enhanced with two new services that significantly increase the value of the information provided.

First, NPES recently entered into an agreement with the Institute for Trend Research, the company led by Alan Beaulieu, to provide participating member companies with expert economic analysis and industry forecast reports. Alan has twice been a keynote speaker at NPES conferences, and both times his informative and insightful economic forecasts have been the highlight of the meetings.

Alan was one of the few experts to correctly predict the timing and severity of the downturn, and NPES members immediately saw the value in the information Alan could provide and requested that NPES work with him to provide forecasts for our industry.
 

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