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Printing industry recession continues but profits up

Friday, 09 March 2012
By Print21

The Australian printing industry has found itself in a technical recession with sales for the sector contracting by 3.2 per cent during the December 2011 quarter, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) economic data on the industry released this week.

The economic data indicated that, while the overall sales volume for Australian printing industry as whole was 3.2 under the previous quarter, it was an even greater 3.7 per cent less when compared with the same period the previous year.

The industry generated total sales of around $8.15 billion for the year, dropping $127 million from the previous year’s $8.28 billion, representing a 1.5 per cent overall deterioration for the industry.

However, despite the market contraction it is not all doom-and-gloom for the industry, with the data indicating that total pre-tax profit for the industry as a whole was up by 31.3 per cent on the previous period’s outcome to $700 million.

Printing Industries’ national manager for policy and government affairs, Hagop Tchamkertenian (pictured), says that, although the ABS figures indicate a technical recession on a macro scale, individual businesses in the industry have reported positive growth.

“More companies reported improvements rather than deterioration,” says Tchamkertenian. “Proportion-wise the industry was modestly up, but in [macro] volumes, if one or two of the larger player’s volumes are down it outweighs the whole.”

Tchamkertenian says that there are certain elements of the industry the ABS figures fail to take into account, such as second-hand equipment sales – an area where he believes there is, in fact, more activity at the moment.

It is clear, however, that the overall continued lack of confidence in the Australian market has been impacting the printing industry detrimentally for over a year, a trend Tchamkertenian believes will continue into the next financial year.

“The printing industry relies on the growth dynamic of the other key sectors,” he says. “At the moment, it depends on the mood of the consumer. The bias is more towards saving rather than spending, and there have been associated marketing campaign cuts that have repercussions in the printing industry.”

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