Commercial printing has been consistently popular since the invention of the printing press. Community leaders, political figures, and many others quickly realized the value of mass printing capabilities. Much in the world changed as the centuries passed, but the attraction to printing options has remained constant. Before we take a look at 2021 printing trends, let’s review some important statistics about commercial printing.
Commercial Printing Industry Stats and Growth Projections in 2021
- 25,000 US companies specialize in commercial printing
- Commercial printing generates nearly $900 billion annual revenue
- Digital print, including advertising, grows at an average of 10% annually
- 72% of corporations utilize direct mail campaigns
- Technological efficiencies increase profit margin by more than 20% in the past 5 years
Understanding the growth potential and steady interest in commercial printing shows that the industry is still booming. It is also easy to understand why many companies expand their annual print budgets to increase their exposure in the marketplace.
Top 10 Trends In Commercial Printing For 2021
Commercial printing efforts continue to expand. Superb industry leadership and advanced technology allow for new products and services to be added to the menu each year. Here are some of the biggest trends in commercial printing that are expected to emerge throughout 2021.
1. Design Services
Even small printing franchises are beginning to hire a design team. In some cases, this may be one graphic designer. Other print companies are expanding to a team of graphic designers as well as digital print experts. Growing this area of the business ensures that companies are competitive in the marketplace. Rather than depending solely on print income, these companies can now earn revenue from logo design, retouching photos, and website design.
Two production techniques are expected to make a big statement in the coming year. Shimmering is a multi-part process that creates a unique effect on virtually any stock. The shimmering technique highlights one or more print design areas to make them stand apart from the rest of the page with a shimmering or even three-dimensional effect. These finished products are in high demand as restaurant menus, wedding invitations, and even business cards.
3. Laser Cutting
Laser cutting is the second major production technique that is expected to trend throughout 2021. This process is more intricate than shimmering and provides the same dramatic effect. Laser cutting can be used for accurate cuts on any stock to reach the correct finished size. However, it is quickly becoming more popular for the designs it can create on holiday cards and invitations. Laser cutting allows printers to accurately outline even the most delicate design, such as gentle leaves, and create a unique textured effect. Coupled with gold or colored foil, laser cutting is sure to provide a beautiful finished product.
4. Digital Marketing
Commercial printing companies that offer digital marketing services are more likely to increase revenue and remain competitive in the industry. Digital marketing is one of the most effective forms of advertising available. One campaign can reach literally millions of prospects. Social media ads provide a great example of how one looping piece can repeatedly reach targeted viewers for an indefinite period of time. Digital marketing services also include website hosting services and a plethora of other products. Printing companies that offer podcast creation, email marketing, and other services are able to substantially grow their businesses throughout 2021.
5. Mail List Sourcing
Many companies use household mail opportunities to increase their exposure in the community. Restaurants, fitness centers, and shopping outlets all offer grand opening benefits and coupons to local residents. For more than two decades, mail lists have been readily available to businesses. Today, it is easier than ever to customize these lists based on a host of variable demographics. Advertisers who want to reach a specific age group, income bracket, or lifestyle preference are able to quickly access the contact information. Commercial printers who source their own mail lists for customers reduce overhead and increase their profit margins.
6. Direct Mail Campaigns
Direct mail marketing campaigns are one of the most basic forms of advertising. These custom designs can be sent through an individually sourced list or included in a packet of offers from multiple companies. Direct mail advertising is a consistently effective form of reaching new customers. There are also obvious benefits for existing and inactive customers. Direct mail campaigns are relatively inexpensive and are a great way for companies to keep their image and services in the public eye. This aspect of printing is expected to continue on an upward trend in 2021.
7. Print Ready Art Sources
One of the most critical areas of industrial printing is the print resolution of source images. Many customers have an idea of what they are looking for and assume that any photo will produce a stellar finished product. Designers often have to request new artwork from their customers, preferably a high-resolution Adobe InDesign version. Even text documents have to be reviewed and typeset to create a polished finished document. Technological advancements have created a promising new trend in commercial printing for 2021. Smartphone technology and advanced cameras are making it easy for novice users to provide print-ready art to commercial printers. The reduced design time will keep costs low for end users and increase revenue for specialists in the print industry.
8. Recycling Efforts
The commercial printing industry is notorious for waste. This is an unavoidable cost of doing business in most cases. Setting up a press or high-speed copier for a particular job often requires up to 50 sheets of waste. The process of mixing inks and setting rollers or die sheets in the exact spot for printing is time-consuming and requires several trial and error test runs. Concerted efforts across the industry have been made to reduce waste on these machine setups. Likewise, scraps from cutting are being re-purposed whenever possible. Rolls of paper and other materials are being made available in unique and varied sizes to avoid excess cutting and additional waste. Many printing facilities are increasing their recycling efforts in 2021 and will include in-house recycling centers that decrease waste. Liquid inks, toner cartridges, and other printing byproducts are also being recycled to prevent excess waste.
There are two basic ways that commercial printing companies can expand their footprint in the industry’s marketplace. Companies that choose to specialize in a particular good or service are valuable to the industry in a number of different ways. Specialized goods and services like rare paper stocks, precision laser cut, and popular promotional items are used by virtually every commercial printing company. Companies that are able to corner the market or purchase wholesale items are in a good position to service other printers in the area. Businesses who serve a particular product or service are able to hone their industry and act as a broker or wholesaler. In 2021, many companies serving the commercial print industry will choose to specialize in one area and become leaders of a particular niche.
Another way that commercial printers can set themselves apart from others in the industry is through diversification. Many motivated leaders started in the printing world through a franchise or small print and copy store. Over time, these savvy entrepreneurs realized that continued growth and success require expansion. In some cases, they branch out into other print-related areas, like signage or digital marketing. Some of the fastest-growing print companies have absorbed other companies in order to diversify. They find out which companies excel in a particular industry, like vehicle wraps or corporate branding, and partner with them. Diversification in 2021 will continue to be a viable trend for the commercial printing industry.
Not much is left to chance with commercial printing. The industry will necessary as long as companies use business cards, calendars, and stationery. With an average growth of about 4% per year, even small printing companies can survive market declines. Through specialization or diversification, the revenue stream increases, and annual growth more than doubles. The coming year and beyond will prove interesting for commercial printers. Political campaigns, including yard and large commercial signs and direct mailers, will provide more than enough revenue for commercial printing startups.