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Hot Markets Update — Summer Hot Spots

May 2008 By Vincent Mallardi
SPRINGING FORTH from winter recession grayness is summer recovery greenery. Inflation and foreign investment are the fertilizers, and are very positive for printing—via marketing materials or money itself.

We, as with all custom manufacturers, pass along increased direct costs and, then, use cheaper-dollar revenues to pay down balances on imported machinery. “Paper profits” (including profits on paper itself) also take on weed-like life.

Happily, there are six blossoming, long hot summer categories ripe for the picking, while competitors watch the grass grow. Five of these directly relate to what people (you know, the “consumers”) do during warm months and long days. They eat, drink, play and buy houses!

The top two appetizers on the seasonal sales plate are packaged foods ($777B, +11 percent; with $11.4B to print, +15 percent) and food service ($691B, +5 percent; with $4.9B to print, +2 percent). Sticker-shock at the supermarket is forcing brands to double-up on ad inserts, co-op ROP, in-store promotion, coupons and, best of all, green labels and packaging.

There are thousands of food producers and dining-out chains and franchises. Imported foods are now very expensive and are being advertised extensively. Find foreign food producers looking to become domestic. Shop the shelves for brands and addresses, find contract manufacturers, and do the labels, cartons, closures and POP/POS.

With food, there’s thirst. Beverages ($366B, +4 percent; with $8.9B to print, +1 percent) is the ultimate seasonal category with most print spends at this time of year. Get to the distributors who have co-op dollars. Their trucks are everywhere, so follow them.

Travel/hospitality ($760B, +1 percent; with 7.3B to print, +1 percent) is shifting to close-to-home mini-vacations. Regional advertising, with direct mail, FSIs and outdoor, is hot, as are near-shore destinations such as Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. While the airlines drag this sector down, the hospitality category is very dispersed and print-friendly.

Also in the state of play is gambling/wagering ($797B, +7 percent; with $4.9B to print, +22 percent). The impaired economy is lucky for casinos, lotteries—and printers. Record demand for slot machines and the OEM screen-printed components, large-format digital POP/POS at hundreds of new locations, and robust personalized direct mail loyalty programs are the best bets.

Leisure activity ($187B, -4 percent; with $4.1B to print, -12 percent) is off except for horticulture and hobbies. Sporting and wheel goods, recreational vehicles and fitness, pools, gyms and clubs are at saturation. A slowly recovering market in real estate ($2.1T, +1 percent; with $11B to print, +4 percent) will build printed guides, screen signage and digital sell sheets.


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