A Look at the Top 100 Print Buyers Ranking Based on Amount Purchased Annually
Congratulations are in order for the 100 largest print buyers depicted in the Printing Impressions "Print Buyer 100" ranking. Collectively, the A-List (as shown in the accompanying chart - Opens as a PDF) will account for over one-fourth of all we will sell — some $506 million each! And, by the way, these same entities will contribute over one-third to GDP!
No kudos, however, are deserved by our printing salespeople. Without a clue, most compete destructively for work among the 113,252 smallest buyers, the demand from which is in a range from a few thousand dollars a year up to a million or so. The average is $0.8 million, or a paltry 0.001% when compared to the best 1-in-1,132 places to call. If our marketplace is a coin, this space is tails at less than half of all printing; 45.7% to be exact. Worse, it is a harder sell with higher costs and lower margins. Where would YOU rather invest your efforts?
As one print sales pro contends, “It’s easier to work for top companies whose multiple buyers are in professional, full-time positions.” Contrast this to the frustrations dealing with part-time buyers, often with “little or no knowledge of the processes involved.” Darr Kartychak at Intermedia in Princeton, N.J., adds, “Don’t be intimidated by company size; the big buyers don’t bite.”
Who Are the Biggest of the Biggest Buyers?
If on a pyramid, the largest five demanders are at the pinnacle with more than $5.5 billion, or nearly 3% of all print. Each is at over a billion dollars, and all are decentralized, making it easier for regional printers to do business with them.
At No. 1 this year is the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). From Washington, D.C., and regionally, 17 departments order and manage print of every size, shape and process. Outbound variable data printing (VDP) campaigns and collateral that promotes direct mail help all printing demand and is just the tip of the top. Corrugated bleach-board Priority Mail cartons, tapes, tubes, sleeves, shelf-talkers, bubble mailers, fleet markings, roll labels, window signage, embossed envelopes, postcards, billboards, point-of-sale (POS) displays and, of course, postage stamps add up to $1.3 billion. The USPS vendor base exceeds 3,000 printers and converters, including several Canadian suppliers. US$500,000 each is the average!
Joyce Carrier’s surname suits her at the U.S. Postal Service where she manages USPS ad and direct mail programs. These benefit the printing industry by promoting the medium to all businesses and nonprofit organizations.
Pepsico is No. 2 in print and buys from its New York headquarters in Purchase. There and in nearby Somers are the senior directors for global procurement. More than 200 additional graphics supervisors reporting to a senior VP of production, with the group overseeing over $1.1 billion in metal decorating, labels, closures, litho folding cartons, carriers, neckers, outdoor, FSIs, ROP, vehicle wraps and the largest variety and volume of POS/POP of any company in any category on earth.
The number of print-related suppliers, including twin-plant packaging operations, is more than 2,500. And this does not include the largest buy of flexographic packaging at Frito-Lay, gabled cartons and plastics containers at Tropicana, paper drums and lids at Quaker Oats and the retail signage, tray-liners, co-op advertising and sanitary items at or near some 2 million restaurants, fast-food outlets, vending machines and other retail locations. Join the Pepsi generation!
No. 3 Apple Inc. buys $1.1 billion in print from 19 cities on four continents. The senior manager of global print production is at the firm’s Cupertino, Calif., campus. A team of 11 print production managers have specific responsibilities by product promotion and packaging, channel co-operative branding and advertising, event and sponsorship coordination, and outdoor, transit and POS for the more than 500 Apple stores. The company drastically reduced its number of global vendors to fewer than 500; and it engages independent contractors for functions, such as those in OEM, co-ops, brand standards enforcement and 3P media buying. There are periodic rotations and realignments that provide opportunities for new vendors “to take a bite!”
Pfizer ranks No. 4. Its largest of three divisions, VOC (vaccines and over-the-counter) concentrates its annual spend on brand and packaging management, POP, magazine bind-ins and co-op FSIs for its over-the-counter offerings, such as Advil, Nexium, ChapStick, Centrum, etc. A smaller group, GEP (generics and prescription), sources folding cartons, inserts, labels and forms for branded generic and private label items that aren’t promoted. Overall, the scrip is nearly $1.1 billion.
No. 5 Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is the largest and most decentralized global healthcare company, but not when it comes to the consistent integrity of its OTC products. The director for global R&D packaging manages baby products, beauty, oral care and, of course, brands like Tylenol, Listerine, Motrin, Band-Aids, etc. Another division, pharmaceuticals, is now the fastest growing in J&J’s marketing budget, promoting Stelara and 26 other prescription drugs exceeding $6 billion. Nearly one-third is ROP/insert print.
Beyond the Top Five Print Buyers
Ninety-five demanders collectively are forecast to fork out a whopping $50.6 billion for print. This is determined by interviews and financial analyses that then are used in a regression and correlation model for all of the participants in 30 sectors of the U.S. economy. The moving average of these buys, when ranked, is illustrated in Figure 1.
If the chart is extended, the next 1,400 printing demanders add an additional $57.9 billion to the buys. Notice the downward “cliff” following after the total of 1,500 entries. Economists call this area “the residual.” It’s where the more than 113,252 small, ad-hoc buyers are located. It’s also where our salespeople should begin to avoid!
About the Author
Vincent Mallardi, CMC, is a Certified Management Consultant in the paper, printing and converting industries and is an adjunct professor in economics. For the complete listings of all 1,500 of the largest print buying entities, including addresses and phone numbers for all 50 U.S. states, he may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vincent Mallardi, C.M.C., is a the chairman of the Printing Brokerage/Buyers Association International (PBBA) and is a Certified Management Consultant in the paper, printing and converting industries. He is also an adjunct professor in economics. Contact him via email at email@example.com