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 user 2004-02-06 at 10:20:00 am Views: 78
  • #4981
    CapVentures: The U.S. Quick Print Market
    Sizing the quick print market is a difficult task because there is no agreed-upon definition for the segment. Therefore, a logical definition of a quick printer is a prerequisite for any market size estimate.

    One issue in defining the term “quick printing” is that it has two separate uses. In one sense, quick printing refers to smaller printing companies that have a retail presence. At the same time, however, the term can also be used to describe a quick-turnaround service that is performed by many printing companies (whether they consider themselves to be quick printers or not).

    Another issue is that the traditional definition of a quick printer has changed. Many of today’s quick printers are moving away from models that were based on having a retail presence. In addition, many in the industry now look at quick printers and small commercial printers as a single group, partly because of their similarities in size, equipment used, and markets served. Nevertheless, grouping quick printers and small commercial printers together is also done out of expedience. It is not always clear which group a given site belongs to. This will become particularly clear as we examine the independent segment of the quick printing market.

    Definition of a Quick Printer: A quick printer is a small commercial printer that provides quick turnaround and short-run work for its customers (for this reason, quick printers are sometimes referred to as instant printers).

    Other factors may also be important: Quick printers often accept walk-in customers through a retail presence, generally through a storefront with counter service, although this is not as significant a factor as it once was. Job submission through a Web site is a substitute for (or an enhancement to) retail presence in some cases.

    Quick printers often use copying machines or small- format offset presses to produce their work (although quick printers take advantage of a variety of offset and digital printing technologies as well as analog and digital copiers).

    Types of Quick Printers: The market is made up of the following types of quick printers:

    Franchises: A franchise is a network of quick printers or copy shops in which each franchisee pays fees to join and belong to the network. In exchange for these fees, the franchisee benefits from the franchise’s national branding, advertising, marketing, training, support, collective buying power, knowledge of technology, and corporate infrastructure.

    Chains: A chain is a network of quick printers or copy shops where the individual sites are owned by the chain rather than by a franchisee. Chains generally have a national presence and may even be active internationally. The chain is managed by its corporate parent. Although Kinko’s is the only example of a chain where copying and digital printing is the primary focus, quick print locations in office superstores also fall within this classification. These chains tend to focus more on copying and digital printing rather than offset printing.

    Mail Services: There are some businesses that offer copying and/or printing as a secondary service, such as the mail services provider called Mail Boxes Etc. Although Mail Boxes Etc is a franchise, we have not included it in the quick printing franchise category since copying and printing are not primary services for businesses of this type.

    Independents: Independents are quick printers or copy shops that do not belong to a franchise or chain. This category provides the biggest challenge when attempting to size the quick print market since these firms are scattered throughout the country and there is no simple way to differentiate them from small commercial printers. An example of an independent quick printer would be a local family-owned copy/print center. Some independent quick printers have multiple sites. Despite having multiple sites, these printers are not considered chains since they do not have a national presence.

    Sizing the Quick Print Market: The quick print market cannot be understood as one large entity. Instead, it is best viewed as the sum of its components. The table below breaks down the market into franchises, chains, office superstores, mail services, and independent quick printers.

    Quick Print Segment/#of US Sites/Est.Annual Rev per Site/Est.Total

  • Franchises / 2,689 / $550,000 / $1,478,950,000
  • Chains / 1,102 / $1,750,000 / $2,100,000,000
  • Office Superstores / 2,982 / $550,000 / $1,640,100,000
  • Mail Services / 3,200 / $25,000 / $80,000,000
  • Independents / 12,500 / $525,000 / $6,562,500,000

    Totals / 22,473 / $527,813 / $11,861,550,000

    As you can see, there are over 22,000 quick print and related copy/print sites that generate nearly $12 billion in revenue in the United States, which makes this a significant market component, particularly in relation to digital copying and printing.