What Will 2007 Hold for Printing Shipments?
For that reason, having a statistical forecast of trends that might be embedded in one’s business or market ensures a sense of detachment required for good planning.
PrintForecast.com runs three different models on the industry shipments data series we maintain. One is a straight-line model. Another detects seasonal patterns. Yet another fits an exponential curve equation to a data series. They are nothing more than arithmetic exercises, no matter how sophisticated they seem.
By constantly reviewing the literature of the markets that feed communications demand, such as what is happening in direct marketing techniques, publishing, advertising, graphic design, photography, telecommunications, broadcasting, and other fields, one arrives at a general understanding of what is happening in our industry today, and what forces will impact it in the future. It’s easy to let the hyperbole of technology and its marketing affect forecast decisions. Again, including a basic statistical forecast in the process helps one to better understand the issues.
Good forecasts require a combination of approaches, but someone, sometime, has to put a stake in the ground and proclaim what the forecast is.
Our forecast models for 2007 show three scenarios. For comparison, this past year’s inflation-adjusted shipments will be about $91.4 billion. Model 1 estimates that shipments in 2007 will be $92.9B, model 2 says $92.7B and model 3 says $82.3B. We can say with great confidence that all of the models will be wrong. But that’s the first step.
Models 1 and 2 have formulas that more heavily weigh the recent past than distant history, just like that executive who values the last thing that was heard in a casual hallway conversation. Model 3 has a longer term view, and in light of the past five years trend, and not the last five months, forecasts more pessimistically—about -11% less than the other two forecasts. The consensus of the models would be $88.6B, if one takes comfort in that. It almost sounds reasonable.