Thanks largely to electronic and digital formats, the printing industry is in decline as traditional media struggles to adapt to the modern world. Although it will soon be assimilated into this brave new world, the printing industry still has life. Because people will continue to “need” junk mail, printouts, and legal documentation, the printing industry has value throughout the world. On the other hand, current printing industry business models have been significantly undermined by ecommerce, thus adaptation is and must be the prevailing trend.
The needs of today will not be here tomorrow for sectors like the printing industry. Certainly, small, independent shops, including internet cafes, which service the needs of their communities with a variety of different offerings, may well be better prepared to cope with ecommerce, yet greater flexibility is still needed. From print news outlets to greeting cards, printers must contend with the electronic equivalents of all their products as well as the continuing growth of on-demand services offered by small printers and national chain stores like Staples, thus larger printers are probably too big not to fail.
Small, better, and faster has been the motto of the technology sector for years and the same is true of printers. Today, an office copier or home printer can offer consumers many of the advantages once coveted by the titans of the printing industry. As a consequence, the niche market for printing services has narrowed significantly. In fact, even generic program suites like Microsoft Office or Open Office allow users to design professional quality invitations and other custom print jobs that can be superior to what professional printers offer.
Fortunately for printers, price is still an issue in terms of ink and paper. Though new technologies like the use of carbon nanotubes may change this, the printing industry is still viable for this reason. The Great Recession has forced many consumers to learn how to be more frugal and rely on their resourcefulness to cut costs. Forgoing print advertisements for businesses or using a more homemade approach has taken away business, yet large and small printing firms may still offer a cheaper solution in terms of ink and paper for bulk printing.
Although many trends exist and will emerge in the printing industry, there is an overall trend of decline. On the other hand, even this trend is part of a larger social trend toward adaptation. The printing industry is a very traditional business that has been improved by technological advances; however, even further advances turned this industry’s wave of modernization into a near death sentence for the market’s traditional business models. With their market share collapsing, printing companies need to create a sustainable niche where they can offer services and products that cannot be so easily cheapened.