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The Production Printing Industry in North America: Understanding Industry Transformation

Published: August 2014

Part of InfoTrends’ Production Print Services multi-client study research series


The whirlwind of transformation is creating havoc, new opportunities and threats. The industry continues to implement new technologies that change how print is produced and how Print Service Providers (PSP’s) interact with clients. While many PSP’s are deploying new services or evolving to a marketing services provider, others are focused on profiting from niche opportunities in print. Regardless of business approach, the industry remains focused on efficiency and higher levels of productivity.

This study will examine various industry segments, and the impact of establishment size in both the in-plant and print for pay segments. This research study builds upon the results of our earlier studies but will provide additional granularity. It will examine PSP’s in four business segments. Our research indicates that where a PSP falls within this quadrant drives particular behavior including service expansion, the use of technology and capital investments.  Some PSP’s like Shutterfly offer a premium service, handle a large number of jobs and offer a specialty service in photo publishing. RR Donnelley sells many more programs; they are very strong on logistics and integration and offer a wide range of services. Vistaprint handles many jobs, offers more commodity products and a high level of convenience. InnerWorkings offers contractual relationships and programs to address many commodity products with a focus on saving clients’ money.

Project Objectives

Through a combination of web surveys, phone interviews, and desk research, InfoTrends intends to identify business models, key applications, and investment trends as follows:

Business Model:

  • Understand investment plans
  • Identify current and planned service offerings and revenue expectations
  • Measure the impact of digital print hardware & software tools (e.g., VDP, workflow, etc.)
  • Determine impact of e-Commerce platforms & print management tools


  • Identify key print applications
  • Determine which market approach leads to success 
  • Examine print volume trends and factors driving or inhibiting application growth


  • Measure the pace and impact of industry consolidation, M&A and restructuring
  • Determine e-Commerce investment objectives, successes and failures

Analysis & Project Deliverables

This study will provide an extensive analysis of the desk research, personal interviews, and surveys to develop a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities and issues impacting these markets. The research will clearly define and detail this segment of the printing industry, including market size and potential.

The study will have five main components:

  • Report: The full written analysis of the study, including the survey results, a summary of the in-depth personal interviews, key findings and recommendations
  • Presentation: Contains an executive summary with key findings and recommendations, as well as survey and interview data summaries.
  • The tabulated data: The full set of data responses to the email surveys. Banner points will be based on specific survey questions.
  • The banner index: The full details on the breakout by question of each of the banners.
  • Questionnaire/frequency report: The full questionnaire as well as annotations showing the top-level responses.

Getting Started

For more information on the study, contact Scott Phinney at 781-616-2123 or e-mail



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