In this four-part series, we’ll take a look at how each indicator from the Monthly Conditions Dashboard is affecting your business based on the survey results from the past 11 months. Charts are also provided to show the trends in an easy-to-read format, so you can benchmark your current market conditions with hundreds of other printers.

Where do you expect your sales to go in 2013? Earlier this month in Industry Trends Report: Part 1—Monthly Sales, we told you about printers’ wide swings and recent modestly rising sales based on the Monthly Industry Conditions Dashboard.* This report is a new industry market trends report from our Economic and Market Research department that allows you to plan your business strategies each month.

How does it all work? Survey respondents provide information in five principle areas—1) Monthly Sales, 2) Sales Expectations, 3) Profits, 4) Print, and 5) Paper Prices. Current sales and profits are compared to the previous month. Printing prices and paper prices are current-month compared to 12 months earlier. Sales expectations are expectations for next month compared to the current month. Respondents are asked to report the directional change of each of the five key indicators (increasing, decreasing, or no change).

We’re taking a little vacation in July, but check back in August to see the latest industry profit trends in Part 3 of the series!

The findings you will read are based on May 2012 to May 2013 calculations using a net diffusion index, where the percentage of respondents reporting an increase is subtracted from the percentage of respondents reporting a decrease. The net diffusion index provides a simple snapshot of printers’ market perceptions for each variable.

Part 2: Sales Expectations

Printers’ sales expectations have also experienced wide swings over the past 13 months and generally are a leading indicator for next month’s sales. The expectations index peaked at 39.6% in February of  2012 after hitting a low of –18.9% in November—one of only three negative readings during the past 13 months.

The overall sales expectations index average for the period was 14.6%. In the first quarter of 2013, the monthly sales diffusion index and sales expectations index changed drastically from month to month. The end result was no growth in the first quarter of 2013 according to our Quarterly Print Market Survey. So far the first two months of the second quarter point toward slightly more consistent and moderate growth. Our panel expects the second quarter to end strong with 21% more expecting June sales to be stronger than May sales than those expecting sales in June to decline compared to May.

Printing Industries of America members respond to a survey to uncover some of the key areas of their business to develop the Monthly Industry Conditions Dashboard from the Economic and Market Research department. With regular updates on current market trends, printers are better able to benchmark their business, prepare, and make more informed decisions to improve their bottom line.

To participate in the May 2013 survey and learn more, go to All individual company information will be kept confidential. For questions, contact Ed Gleeson at

*Click here to visit the Monthly Industry Conditions Dashboard—login using the username and password provided.