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US print rebounds in 2018

Friday, 15 March 2019
By Jake Nelson

The presses are rolling again with a bump in print revenue. (Image: Bank Phrom)

US print has bounced back last year from a disappointing 2017, with many businesses reporting a boost in revenue, and saying they are intending to take on more staff.

In its new Printing Outlook 2019 report, industry bible WhatTheyThink reported revenues last year were up by at least six per cent on 2017 in 42 per cent of businesses surveyed. And half of print businesses are intending to take on new staff this year. The strongest businesses were either the large of small printing houses, with mid-sized businesses experiencing little revenue growth.

According to report author Richard Romano, managing editor at WhatTheyThink, American printers have been buoyed by the rebound.

Rebound: Richard Romano, WhatTheyThink.

“In terms of printing shipments, 2018 saw something of a rebound from the lacklustre 2017,” said Romano. “This was reflected in our survey’s positive business conditions results. The industry is  in the process of reinventing itself in a more speciality printing direction, which is where a lot of the opportunities lie.

“That said, we need to be wary of things like the emergence of 5G cellular networks which could further disrupt the demand for print; many print businesses dismissed the importance of the Internet in the 1990s, and of mobile in the 2000s. We shouldn’t make that mistake again,” he said.

The report includes the results of the WhatTheyThink Printing Industry Business Outlook Survey conducted in Winter 2018–2019, as well as government data. While the Australian and US print industries are not exactly alike, they are similar enough that these trends could be indicative of positive news here as well.

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