Ready or Not, Here It Comes
If you’re not convinced that convergence is occurring in the print and visual communications industries, then you need to take a look at the First Annual Wide-Format Impressions 50 list (starting on page 18).
While the list does include a number of wide-format shops (IMAGINE Group (1); Vomela Specialty (2); Orora Visual (3); Image Options (8); Vision Integrated Graphics Group (11); D’Andrea Visual Communications (12); Thomas Printworks (13); S2K Graphics (17); and DGI Invisuals (18) just in the top 20), you can see that in many cases wide-format is not their entire business. They are also providing general commercial print services, package printing, financial printing, direct mail, publication printing, catalog printing, inserts, prepress services, warehousing and logistics, business forms, marketing collateral and mailing, to name a few. It’s even interesting to see some of the companies generally thought of as “wide-format print providers,” like Thomas Printworks, which reports that 52% of its revenue comes from general commercial print services and only 23% of its revenue comes from its wide-format department.
Or for the commercial printers, direct mailer or package printers on the list (Quad/Graphics (4); Transcontinental (5); Bernard Group (6), Lithographix (7); DATA Communications (9); and Sandy Alexander (10)), we can see how they’ve branched out into adjacent markets — like wide-format and packaging.
We’ve seen this happening for the last several years, but in many cases we’ve labeled it as shops “expanding their services” or “looking for new revenue streams.” But when you really step back and look at how the market is changing, you can see everyone is doing business in everyone else’s backyard. It doesn’t matter if it’s not your core market. You’ve been looking for growth areas that compliment your business and now you’re competing with peers in what used to be different markets.
The market is consolidating. It’s converging. And business owners who ignore this market evolution are putting themselves at risk as new competitors enter the market. In some cases, they may already be working with one of your clients, maybe providing general commercial print services while you offer wide-format signs and graphics. When offered the convenience of purchasing all of their print services from one vendor, many print buyers and brand owners could be tempted to switch. There is one less vendor to manage. Brand owners don’t have to worry about color or message consistency. If you don’t provide all the services your customer needs and someone else does, you might lose out.
Want more details and concrete facts and figures? Check out “Convergence in the Print Industry,” a white paper sponsored by PRINTING United and SGIA and conducted by NAPCO Research. You can download it at wideformatimpressions.com/resource/convergence-in-the-print-industry. The study surveyed U.S. printers across all segments of the print market to better understand the shifting dynamics in the industry and provides insights that can serve as the underpinning framework for your 3-year business plan.
Don’t you owe it to yourself — and your business — to take a closer look?
Denise Gustavson is the Editorial Director and Special Projects Editor for the Printing & Packaging, and Publishing Group, which includes Printing Impressions, packagePRINTING, In-plant Graphics andWide-Format Impressions magazines, among other brands. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Wide-Format Impressions.