PIA: Modest Increase in Industry Profits Last Year
Printing industries of America (PIA) has released the 2015 Ratios Survey results, and findings indicate a modest rise in industry profitability. On average, the typical printing firm’s profit as a percent of sales increased from 2.6 percent last year to 3.0 percent this year. Industry profit leaders—firms in the top 25 percent of profitability—saw their profit rates on sales remain stable at 10.3 percent—the same as last year.
PIA’s Ratios program is the premier financial benchmarking system for the printing industry. For over 90 years, printers and industry suppliers have used the Ratios to track industry financial performance and to benchmark their operations. Those interested can find the full series of Ratios volumes in the Printing Industries of America Bookstore.
Over the period from 2004 to 2015, printers participating in the Ratios averaged 2.1 percent profit on sales. This year’s 3.0 percent is not only more than one point above the average but also only the third year with profits on sales in the 3.0-percent or higher range. For profit leaders, the 2015 profit on sales rate of 10.3 percent ties last year with the highest rate over the last 12 years. On average, profit leaders earned 9.5 percent over the last 12 years.
Profit challengers, printers in the bottom 75 percent of profitability, actually lost money in six of the last 12 years. Overall, they lost an average of 0.5 percent of sales from 2004 through 2015. However, their profit rate of 0.6 percent this year was the highest ever for the 12-year period.
The worst year for all printers, profit leaders, and profit challengers came at the tail end of the Great Recession in 2010 when both industry sales and profitability were most impacted. This dramatically demonstrates the fact that print does best in mature economic recoveries and does worst at the bottom of recessions.
Over the last 12 years, the profit gap between profit leaders and profit challengers averaged 10 percent—a whopping difference of $1 million in profits for a $10 million-a-year printer. Interestingly, the profit gap expanded during the Great Recession years, reaching a peak of 11.2 percent in 2010. In contrast, the profit gap typically recedes during economic expansions with the smallest gap appearing in 2007 at the tail end of the economic expansion.
The explanation for this pattern may be that the strategic and tactical advantages that profit leaders possess are most important during challenging times. But during better times, a rising tide does indeed lift all ships and the profit gap recedes.
For questions regarding the 2015 Ratios Survey results, contact Ron Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who wish to purchase their own copies can do so by contacting Member Central at email@example.com or visit www.printing.org/2015ratios.