Expert Analysis Uncovers the Top 25 Hot Markets for Print Demand in 2021
Noted printing industry researcher and analyst Vincent Mallardi has been tracking U.S. print buying demand annually for more than four decades. His newly published "Hot Markets for Print Demand in 2021" analysis reveals the Top 25 markets/sectors that will be the largest print buyers throughout this year. They will account for nearly 97% of total print procurement — a more than 3% increase from 2020.
As one might expect, the COVID-19 pandemic had negative impacts on U.S. GDP and, hence, overall print buying activity last year. But, as the economy continues to rebound, and businesses boost their marketing presences, 2021 will be the "2020" that never happened, he predicts.
"Overall, prepare to sell a one-time-only $211 billion, resulting from pent-up demand in an economy that will take two to five years to recover from this one-in-a-century shock," Mallardi says, when it comes to potential print sales opportunities in 2021.
COVID-19: Positive Effect on Several Top 25 Hot Markets for Print
As expected, No. 1 ranked Packaged Foods, a $1.68 trillion market, remains as the most appetizing print demander with $26.8 billion of print sales potential (a +16% increase over the previous year) Fueled by the pandemic and its resultant change in buying habits, added packaging and labeling are required to meet the increase in drive-through and home-delivery.
Conversely, No. 11 ranked Foodservice, an $860 billion market, will see a 15% decline in print demand in 2021. With restaurants, bars, and clubs still under social distancing restrictions in terms of indoor dining and size of gatherings, new opportunities for printing sales will arise from direct mail, newspaper FSIs, flyers, and other print-related advertising to promote takeout food delivery service upstarts like DoorDash, Uber Eats, and others.
Other print markets that will benefit from our national COVID-19 response from a treatment and vaccination standpoint are No. 2 ranked Medical/Pharmaceuticals, an $891 billion market with $19.6 billion in potential print demand (+4% vs. 2020), and No. 3 ranked Health Providers, a $5.44 trillion market with $18.1 billion in print demand (+16%).
As expected medical devices such as respirators, testing devices, and various diagnostic and vaccine delivery products related to the pandemic, will require large amounts of printed materials.
"Strict, compliant packaging is the largest print demander as it adds 'smart' to construction and secure labeling," Mallardi points out. "Miniature-folded inserts, expansion labels, blister packs, waiting-room posters, retail POS, and both magazine ROP and bind-in advertising round up sector requirements." Also growing is telemedicine, which must have a printing component to help develop that form of medical treatment.
Similarly, the pandemic has overburdened hospitals with unanticipated pandemic-related patient admissions. But, as greater segments of the population get vaccinated, Mallardi says a return to “normal” will bring back higher-revenue, private non-emergency hospital admissions, procedures, and outpatient activity. "In anticipation, expect name changes, new logos, and market repositioning ripe for new signage, interior décor, fundraising, periodicals, outdoor, and transit print," he advises.
Another growing shift in the health care model is the doubling of urgent care centers to 16,000 and a resulting revenue stream approaching $44 billion — at the expense of a decline in private physician practices. This "walk-in" model will fuel pre-care club memberships, concierge-style medical treatment, and remote presences in, or affiliations with, fitness, nutrition, and other self-development initiatives. These changing medical treatment dynamics will drive demand for printed products related to open houses and grand openings, loyalty programs, and new provider partnerships.
Other Top 25 Hot Markets for Print That Will Show Higher Demand in 2021
Print service providers should target several other markets/sectors in 2021 due to increases in print buying activity. All have been impacted by COVID-19 in a way that increases print sales opportunities for commercial and package printers, sign shops, and other graphic arts organizations.
No. 9 ranked Personal Care, a $597 billion market with $9 billion in potential print demand (+9%), will continue to see heightened growth in demand for sanitary/sanitizing products. Work-from-home habits are driving down demand for cosmetics, perfumes, makeups, and toiletries, but hair, skin, and sun-care products remain in demand. The pandemic-related closure of in-store displays and counters at supermarkets, retail stores, and drug stores that once provided face-to-face personalized services, is driving print demand for postcards, fragrance cards, samplers, and gift wraps to replace store retail display graphics.
Similarly, the $1.03 trillion Home Improvements market houses an $8.3 billion print opportunity (+8%) for point-of-sale, folding cartons, flexographic sleeves, labels, dye sublimation, and more. The primary ad medium for No. 12 ranked Home Improvement has been print, and demand for direct mail, brochures, flyers, business cards, etc., should continue to proliferate among various stores and the thousands of independent remodeling specialists.
No. 18 Logistics/Freight, a $1.1 trillion market with $5 billion in print potential (+15%) this year, is enjoying the societal shift to e-commerce, but it is also facing price increases due to rising energy costs and demand that exceeds supply. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Postal Service remains the largest buyer of print within this segment.
At No. 22, print demand within Primary/Secondary Education is projected to grow 40% due to the pandemic fallout, with up to $2.4 billion in print potential within the $1.08 trillion market. School closings, remote, and hybrid learning are all driving demand for home-delivery of printed test materials, instructional materials, printed notes, and other materials.
These are just a sampling of the markets/sectors appearing within the "Top 25 Hot Markets for Print Demand in 2021." As Mallardi points out, "New and evolving demand categories in this new decade, and impending declines in traditional mainstays where we’ve always sold, are socio-political and techno-economic realities we must address. Managers have the choice between leading or lagging."
As a printing industry owner, manager, or sales representative, download this free report to help develop your strategic business and targeted sales planning activities for 2021 — and beyond. Click here to download the free "Hot Markets for Print Demand in 2021" report.