Semper International, the leading placement firm for skilled help in the graphic arts and printing industry, reports that 67% of responding companies reported revenue growth during Q1 2015, a trend that has grown for the past six quarters. This was accompanied by results that 86% of companies reported profitability for the same quarter.
Since February 2003, Semper International has provided a quarterly survey offering estimates of trends in the printing and graphics industries. To prevent bias, survey questions — both qualitative and quantitative — are designed by Semper corporate partner Cvent. Survey participants include more than 300 small, medium and large printing companies; both clients and prospects of Semper International. Participants provide data on revenue and hiring as well as estimated outlooks on future trends. Data is requested from a random sample and are not screened. To preserve confidentiality, individual company information is not part of the tabulation.
Again this quarter, Semper International partnered with Printing Impressions to distribute the survey and saw a boost in participation.
“Candidly, the senior team here at Semper faced this quarter’s survey results with a bit of trepidation, as we wondered what impact the prolonged storms and other weather issues would have on firms’ results. This increase in revenue despite the harsh winter is very positive. I believe we have finally turned the corner with the economy. Pundits say a contraction lasts 7 years. I think we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” comments David Reagan, CEO, Semper International. “However, companies are still skittish about investing in both new hires and new equipment, fearing the good times are not here to stay. The situation reminds me of my grandmother who retained stockpiling habits from the Great Depression for the rest of her life.”
The report offers a number of critical insights that Semper saw in the survey data. Insights include:
• 86% of respondents reported a profitable Q1 2015
• 39% of companies saw an increase in sales during the first two weeks of 2015.
• 40% of respondents expect sales to grow during Q2. Only 5% expect a decline.
• 76% of businesses are diversifying, up 14 points from last quarter.
• The leading areas of diversification are wide format printing, graphic design and direct mail.
• 44% of all respondents expect to hire staff during Q2 2015.
• The largest labor cost concern continues to be health insurance.