Market Research

The printing-research group PRIMIR released three studies covering the industry, including: Trends in Books: 2008-2012; Sustainable Print in a Dynamic Global Market; and Media Mix and the Impact on Print: 2003-2007-2012.

As a potential enticement to purchase the US$4,500 reports (each, for non-members), PRIMIR provided the following preview statistics (based primarily on U.S. data):

(The text below is taken directly from PRIMIR press releases.)

Trends in Books: 2008-2012

• Printed books reached the peak of their product life cycle with publishers' net sales of 3.3-billion book units in 2007.

• In 2008, six major industry segments in the book industry accounted for 3.0 billion publisher net book copies valued at US$35.7 billion.

• Printed books were headed toward a new record high in 2008 when the economic recession hit full force. 

Book content, in its present paper form, will continue to be a mainstay product through the 2009-2012 forecast period, but at reduced volume levels.

• Book content will morph from being primarily an ink-on-paper product to a multiple-media product distributed through a variety of channels.

Media Mix and the Impact on Print: 2003-2007-2012

• By the end of 2007, total U.S. media and marketing communications spending levels exceeded US$779 billion, with a 5-year compound annual growth rate of 2 percent.

• Advertising media spending accounted for only 32% of this total (above), with a softening of spending levels in 2007 and overall declines in 2008 and 2009.

• Non-media spending channels continued to grow at a 2% compound annual growth rate, fueled by steady investments in promotional programs.

• The study identifies six notable marketplace forces in relation to media and marketing communications spending through 2012, such as the growth in the 65+ population, adoption rates for Internet-enabled mobile devices; and global economy.

Sustainable Print in a Dynamic Global Market

• Conducted for PRIMIR by Pira International, the research revealed that few companies in the print industry who claim to be 'green' truly are.

• Most printers claim to be 'green' simply because they are FSC or SFI certified.

• The study revealed that the more progressive firms have a culture – an all-out corporate commitment to sustainability – with full time staff dedicated to that purpose.

• In 2006, the paper industry was the U.S.'s second largest user of electricity, with consumption of 75 billion kilowatt hours. On the other hand, data centers and servers were close behind, having consumed 61 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.

A report by the Institute of Supply Management concludes that United States manufacturing made a definitive swing back into growth during the last two months of 2009.

The organization, which represents a trade group of supply executives, reports that its manufacturing index rose to 55.9 in December, up from 53.6 in November. An index score of 50 indicates neither growth or decline.

The score represents the fastest pace for the index since April 2006 when the index scored 56. Eighteen industries reported to the index, of which nine reported growth. Of the ones which slipped, however, included wood products and printing. The printing industry in the U.S. did experience employment growth in December.

A report by JP Morgan's Global Manufacturing indicates that global manufacturing ended 2009 at a 44-month high, with employment also rising for the first time since March 2008.

Countering the news for manufacturing in Canada is the strength of the Canadian Dollar, which rose to a 4-month high of 96.41 cents on Monday, January 5, due to the rise of oil prices and a weakening U.S. dollar. Overall, the Canadian dollar rose 15.8 percent against the U.S. dollar in 2009.

Economists were taken aback today as 43,200 Canadian jobs were shed in October, after two months of gains. United States' numbers also released this morning show that country’s unemployment rate surpassed 10 percent for the first time since 1983.

Canadian analysts, based on the two previous months of gains, had been predicting that around 10,000 new jobs would be created in October, but results released by Statistics Canada suggest companies are still unsure about economic turnaround. Including these October numbers, Canada has lost some 400,000 jobs over the past year as the country’s unemployment rate hit 8.6 percent.

According to Statistics Cananda, most of the unemployment loss targeted part-time workers, as well as adult women and youth. Rising self-employment numbers over the past year (3.9 percent) have propped up Canada's economy, while private employment has dropped by 4.1 percent over the past year and public-sector numbers have fallen by 1.6 percent.

The United States economy in October shed 190,000 jobs, according to the Labour Department. The Associated Press points out that these October numbers represent the 22nd straight month in which the U.S. economy has shed jobs – the longest on records dating back 70 years – and that nearly 16-million Americans cannot find jobs.

View The Globe and Mail's interactive map of 2009 unemployment rates, by province and city.

The Awl, an alternative news Website, has charted the circulation numbers of major U.S.-based newspapers – The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Daily News, Washington Post and The New York Post – going back to 1990.

Read The Awl’s story: A Graphical History of Newspaper Circulation Over the Last Two Decades

Read The Awl’s associated story: How are Newspapers Reporting on Newspaper Circulation

Below: The Awl circulation chart

The Awl

As the Canadian dollar inches towards parity with its U.S. counterpart, the Bank of Canada announced today it will keep the interest rate at its current unprecedented low level for the near future.

While this is good news for consumers and domestic trade, it means that the dollar will likely stay high, reducing the attractiveness of Canadian exports on the world market.

“Heightened volatility and persistent strength in the Canadian dollar are working to slow growth and subdue inflation pressures,” the Bank of Canada said in a statement. “The current strength in the dollar is expected, over time, to more than fully offset the favourable developments since July.”

The key policy rate is expected to stay at 0.25 percent until June 2010.

The Bank will update its Monetary Policy Report on Thursday, which will detail its outlooks and projections on the economy.

A joint study by the Financial Post and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has ranked the most business-friendly cities in Canada. This year, the second year of the study, had Saskatoon take the top position.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business ranks cities by "policy, which encompasses tax and regulatory policies; presence, which reflects the concentration of entrepreneurs and business startups; and perspective, which gauges the optimism and success of actual small business owners."

Cities in Quebec also ranked favourably along with cities in Saskatchewan in the study while Toronto was dead last, at 96. Toronto suburbs fared better, leading the National Post to call Toronto the "bedroom community of the 905." Markham ranked 33rd on the list.

High municipal taxes are a major factor determining the friendliness of cities. Toronto has a property tax rate for businsses roughly 4.5 times that of a comparable residential whereas Saskatoon's rate is 1.75 times.

Read the Financial Post story here.


According to a report released today by the Royal Bank, the Canadian economy will return to growth this fall after experiencing a drastic downfall in the last three quarters.

"Improved financial markets, low borrowing rates and fiscal stimulus have moved Canada's economy forward," said Craig Wright, senior VP and Chief Economist, RBC. "We expect that Canada's recession will turn out to be the least severe of the past three, even after the consecutive hefty drops in GDP output from late 2008 and early 2009."

The projections are based on the trends in the second quarter, which saw the slowdown of the decline. Interest rates are projected to remain low for the rest of the year, with gradual increases in 2010.

A chief driver of the North American upswing will be the automotive sector, especially the increased demand due to the cash-for-clunkers program (GM Canada announced a similar clunker campaign today). The housing market is also growing due to the low interest rates. Wholesale, retail, and manufacturing sales have also seen a modest increase in June, the first rise in 10 months, according to the report. Businesses made cuts to spending plans, but also got easier access to credit.

The full RBC report can be obtained here.

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