October Printing Shipments Up +$259 Million; Six Consecutive Months of Increased Shipments
Printing shipments in October were up a strong +$259 million on a current dollar basis, and up +$155 on an inflation-adjusted basis. While current dollar shipments have been up for six months, real printing shipments have been up for three consecutive months.
This was the biggest monthly comparison since July 2004’s real shipments were +$206 million compared to those of July 2003. For the year, real shipments are now slightly better than last year; it had been negative until this report.
The strength of the increase may be attributable to highly contentious local political races around the country. Print was considered more effective than new media, since local digital media does not yet have the presence nor the interest among Internet users that global, national, and topical web sites do attract.
The first two months of the most important quarter for printing are up +$436 million compared to last year, and +$170 on a real basis. While some print categories, such as magazines, are still having problems, it is clear that other sectors are now picking up the slack. Direct mail probably had a good run because of the political advertising, especially.
One has to wonder if the bulge in political printing that seemed to play an important role in this rise was actually a last gasp of large scale local political printing. The national elections of 2008 will have coattails that local and state elections will ride. The next local-only elections will be in 2010. Local Internet and all digital media will be in a quite different position at that time than they were this past November.
Here are some data about historical shipments to put this latest report in perspective:
The last time all 12 months of the year had real, inflation-adjusted increases compared to the prior year was 1995.