Offset Printing Trends

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

A recent Caslon survey shows offset run lengths are stabilizing. The graphs below show results from two segments: Commercial Printers with more than 10 employees and Quick/Small Commercial Printers. In each case the majority of respondents indicated that offset run lengths are not changing and in each case the number of respondents who reported increasing offset run lengths exceeded the number of respondents reporting declining run lengths.

Note – this data is from mid and small size offset print shops.  It does not reflect what is happening with the large magazine publishers as they are seeing significant declines in print volumes.

offset run lengths commercialoffset run lengths quick

Declining run lengths has been a lead indicator for declining offset print volumes.  Thus with run lengths stabilizing, printers are becoming more optimistic about their offset business.

Our survey shows that surprisingly 68% of the commercial printers and 43% of the quick printers are forecasting an increase in offset page volumes, while only 5% and 24% respectively are forecasting declines.

offset expectations - com offset expectations - quick

While in our surveys we have found that printers are typically over optimistic about the growth of their businesses, these results indicate a more positive outlook for their business than just a few years ago.

This doesn’t mean I’d want to be out selling offset presses as over half of the commercial printers and two thirds of the quick printers do not plan to buy another offset press. They have plenty of capacity now and they expect that inkjet technology will be the next technology of choice.

While data shows that overall print volumes are declining, it seems the declines are concentrated in certain applications: magazines, directories, forms, and newspapers. The survey shows there are sectors of the printing industry that are doing okay with their offset production.


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