Top Printing Companies see Growth in Packaging, Direct Mail, and Commercial Printing

Posted on by Dave Erlandson | No Comments »

In December of 2016 Printing Impressions magazine published its list of the top 400 printing companies in North America.  The ranking includes the most recent annual revenue figures and the previous year revenues. The ranking also provides information on what segment or specialties the companies produce such as commercial print, direct mail, packaging, business forms, etc.  Many companies list more than one specialty.

I thought it would be interesting to see how the revenue changed year over the year by segment. It’s an interesting way to see how the upper echelon of the industry is doing.

PI 400

In the graph are the results for 363 of the top 400.  I left off the 3 new companies that split off from RR Donnelley and also Quad Graphics as they work in all or nearly all the segments.  Also companies that only had revenue figures for one of the two years were not included.  And finally any segments that had less than 10 companies in it were also excluded. The 363 companies account for roughly $25 billion in annual sales. (RR Donnelley at $11.7 bil and Quad at $4.7 bil would account for another $16.4 billion).

The graph shows the growth rate for nine segments.  The number after the segment in parenthesis is the number of companies that listed this segment as their top segment.  The results show 5 segments had growth with packaging companies leading the way at an average revenue growth rate of 7.8%. Right behind the Packaging segment are Direct Mail and Commercial Printing at 6.3% and 6.2% growth respectively.  Many of the companies that listed commercial printing as their top application listed direct mail as their second highest application and vice versa. Companies listing publications as their top application grew at 3.4% and the Specialty category was up just 0.2%. The Specialty categories include label production, point of purchase, and point of sales, fulfillment and a few other categories.  300 of the 363 companies in the ranking were in these 5 categories.

Four categories experienced overall revenue decline. The largest decline was for companies printing inserts (8.2%).  This was followed by Catalog printers at (3.4%) and Business Form printers at (1.2%). The top book printers experienced only a 0.1% decline.

It was not surprising to see packaging as the top category as overall demand continues to grow. And it wasn’t surprising to see declines for companies producing inserts, business forms and catalogs. However, it was interesting to see 6% growth for Commercial Printers and Direct Mailers. These two categories accounted for 186 of the 363 companies analyzed or half the sample size.

All told 261 of the 363 companies (72%) grew their revenues in the most recent year, not bad in an industry under heavy pressure from electronic substitution and shifting advertising priorities.

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