T.The fact that our 37th annual ranking of the largest US and Canadian-based printing companies, by annual sales, is now the Printing Impressions 350 – rather than the 400 – for 2020 serves as a microcosm of the current, unexplained nature of the printing industry amid a global pandemic. So it was quite fitting that we also named the latest list on our December 2020 cover as “The COVID-19 Edition”.
Putting this venerable list together was no easy task – whether it was getting the information it needed from a $ 5.5 billion commercial printing powerhouse like RR Donnelley to our 350th printer at $ 5.5 million Track US dollars. Due to the pandemic, printing companies large and small have struggled to maintain their sales levels and, in some cases, retain their skilled workforce through temporary vacation days and funding from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Since our editorial offices are closed due to COVID-19, we were also unable to output and send the pre-printed forms that we normally send as a first attempt to collect information. So we went straight to blast emails that contain personalized URLs (PURLs) that allow for online updates. From then on, it was a purely editorial task to send emails and make calls to our database of non-responders.
Despite our attempts, several private printing companies – who form the very core of the printing industry – have chosen not to reveal their sales figures. However, because of the industry size and notoriety of these two companies, we have both Taylor Corp. and the CJK Group using Dun & Bradstreet’s (D&B) annual revenue estimates.
So what was the Printing Impressions 500 for several years, then the 400 for many more, is now the 350.
Large printers on 2020 print impressions 350 in turmoil
Nevertheless, the 2020 Printing Impressions 350 reflects the current industry trends. At the top of the list is the turbulence of many of the biggest printers. For example, following the filing of Chapter 11, the publicly held LSC Communications was recently acquired by the private equity firm Atlas Holdings. Cenveo Enterprises – another public sector consolidator that stepped out of bankruptcy protection as a private company in September 2018 – Instead, he became a seller of various assets for Intellicor and the CJK Group in 2020. And the CJK Group continued to build its book-making platform through M&A transactions by acquiring Quad’s 1 million square feet. Kentucky book factory last July.
In terms of books, this segment of the printing industry’s market has shown the greatest imbalance between supply and demand amid COVID-19. Quad left the book market completely after it sold its two remaining book production facilities to Berryville Graphics (Bertelsmann Printing). Book printing powerhouse LSC reduced capacity by closing its large book facility in Kendallville, Indiana. These steps partly reflect the changing needs of book publishers for short-term, digitally printed (usually inkjet) volumes that are produced on demand rather than in bulk on offset presses.
Pandemic is accelerating the shift in the commercial printing industry from conventional to digital toner-based inkjet printers
The pandemic generally appears to be accelerating the shift in the commercial printing industry from the lithographic process to digital print production. With e-commerce becoming more widespread in all areas of our society, changing consumer habits require more needs-based print models for printing. Given the uncertainty surrounding stationary operations and a weak economy as a result of COVID-19, marketers and brand managers are striving for greater flexibility in panning and less potential for obsolescence.
Toner and inkjet-based production also enables greater social distancing between pressroom workers and lowers the number of press operators and other production workers in factories – all to mitigate outbreaks.
Some printers on our PI 350 list were able to manage their businesses better than others in response to the pandemic, for example by expanding into more recession-proof and higher-margin packaging markets. by making PPE such as masks, shields and protective barriers; and through large format digital applications such as COVID-related signage and banners.
2020 was certainly one that none of us will ever forget – for all the wrong reasons. But the hope remains that some sense of normalcy will return when large swathes of the US and Canadian populations are vaccinated.
The printing industry is resilient, and commercial printers are now positioning themselves to handle the expected boom in 2021 – and beyond.
Top 10 Printing Companies That Made The 2020 Printing Impressions List 350
Rank | Company name | Headquarters | annual sales
- RR Donnelley | Chicago | $ 5.50 billion
- Quad | Sussex, WI | $ 3.92 billion
- LSC Communications | Warrenville, Il | $ 2.84B
- Taylor Corp. | N. Mankato, MN | $ 2.50 billion
- Cimpress | Waltham, MA | $ 2.48B
- Transcontinental Inc. | Montreal | $ 2.28 billion
- Cenveo Enterprises | Stamford, CT | $ 1.00 billion
- Donnelley Financial Solutions | Chicago | $ 874 million
- CJK Group | Brainerd, MN | $ 664 million
- Mondi North America | Jackson, MO | $ 650M
Click here to download the full list of 2020 Printing Impressions 350, including the top 5 largest book, catalog, direct mail and publication printers by segment sales. For comparison, you can also click here to download the 2019 Printing Impressions 400 list.