In 2013 The Onion pronounced the death of the paper industry. In a lengthy obituary the satirical news site loudly proclaimed "Print Dead at 1,803."
'You have to hand it to print, it really had an incredible run,' said Madison, WI resident and avid reader Emily Burnett, 39, noting that though she always knew in her heart print would pass away one day, it still hasn't been easy to bid it farewell,' wrote The Onion. 'Look at print's list of accomplishments: the Magna Carta, the King James Bible, the oldest surviving manuscript of the I Ching, the Declaration of Independence, the first edition of James Joyce's Ulysses, every single issue of The Onion ever printed. That's quite a legacy print's leaving behind. And the world will not soon forget it.'
While the post was all in good fun, the writers may be surprised to hear that the print industry has largely stabilized after the digital boom. In fact, 2015 was a successful year for almost every print business across the board, according to The 2015 Printing Industry Business Conditions Report.
Increased sales revenue and promising future
The report found that in 2015, many businesses saw at least a 10 percent increase in sales revenue. Moreover, 45 percent of participants reported an increase in business throughout the course of 2015. What They Think contributor Richard Romano noted that when you consider businesses that did not change at all (for better or worse) the numbers pan out to 70 percent of businesses without a decline in print sales in 2015.
Many industry leaders have made projections concerning the presentation of a print business's offerings. According to Romano, industry common wisdom dictated that companies that presented themselves as a "marketing services provider" would see a positive increase in revenue. The study found that these claims are not completely true; noting that the term "marketing services" has a smaller effect on revenue than predicted.
While marketing services aren't necessarily the norm, digital services are being offered by a higher number of businesses. Approximately one-third of respondents claimed to provide digital services. Romano explained that these numbers are higher in businesses with over 100 employees due to more widely available resources to implement these offerings.
Looking forward to 2016, printing leaders remain optimistic. The survey found that over 60 percent of companies expect a growth in business in the coming year. Only one-third of companies predict stagnant growth and a mere 2 percent foresee a decrease in traffic.
Since the birth of the digital era it has been easy to write off the printing industry. Yet, year after year print businesses survive and thrive in this competitive climate. The fact of the matter remains that print distributors and paper products are still relevant to everyday life. Whatever the industry, chances are employees and leaders alike are using paper at some point throughout the day. The numbers for 2015 prove just that, and 2016 should be no different.