The printing industry has gone through some major changes in the past few years. Our discussion below covers the reasons for the changes more deeply – but the punchline is that the pace of mergers and acquisitions in this industry has increased dramatically in the last 5-10 years, creating a much different landscape that is consistent with the times in which we now do business.
In April 2017 alone, there has been a huge surge in M&A activity among printing industry titans. Companies like Lux Global, Intellicor, Avery, and Hubergroup USA have purchased multiple smaller printing companies.
The reason for this? Printing companies must adapt – or be left behind. Rather than building innovative systems from the ground up, many larger printing companies are seeking to integrate modern digital printers into their umbrella of services, ensuring they stay competitive in the digital age.
Let’s take a look at the two primary reasons for this emphasis on M&A activity now.
The Economic Downturn Hit Printing Companies Hard
The 2007-08, financial crisis impacted almost every aspect of American life, business, and industry, and it took an especially heavy toll on the printing industry.
Printers rely on consistent, constant production and customers to stay in business – especially due to the high costs of materials, labor, and specialized materials. During the 2007-08 crisis, many printers went out of business, unable to “weather the storm”.
One of the results of this is that larger printing companies who had larger reserves of funds could afford to snap up small printing companies and manufacturers – hence, the increased focus on mergers & acquisitions.
However, the economic crisis wasn’t the only factor.
Competing In The Digital Age – Some Printing Companies Were Left Behind
The transition to digital media was already well underway in 2007-08 when the financial crisis began. Offices and individuals began relying less and less on printed paper as advanced technology became more commonplace.
Demand for many previously-printed items has gone digital, and many younger consumers (millennials) have turned to digital media, instead of traditional printed materials like paper mailers and other physical materials.
This means that larger, traditional printing companies had to adapt to the changing market, and put an increased emphasis on digital printing services, short turnaround times, and marketing to the younger generation.
The easiest way to do this? Purchasing smaller digital printing companies, and bringing them into the fold of larger companies.
The Result? A Streamlined, Modern Printing Industry
The double whammy of these twin crises forced a quasi-revolution in the printing industry. The downsizing caused by the 2007-08 financial crisis allowed printers to refocus their efforts towards marketing in the digital age, and provided a clear path forward for the industry.
Today, the printing industry is large, diverse, and stable. Many companies are experiencing growth rates of over 20-30%, and an emphasis on technology has allowed many printing companies to adapt to the modern age.
TGW International, Standing Strong For Over 100 Years
Since our founding in 1908, our company has been one of the industry’s leading industrial machine knife manufacturers for over a century. TGW International weathered the financial crisis – and we came out stronger than ever before.
We’ve earned the trust of thousands of top global manufacturers across a range of industries who have come to rely on us for stability and the ability to provide quality machine knives.
If you need reliable, high-quality, and cost-efficient machine knives for your printing process, contact us today for more information about our services, and to see how we can help you build your business.