PRIMIR Publishes New Study "E-Commerce and Print Business Models"

PRIMIR has announced that its latest study, “eCommerce & Print Business Models,” has been published. The research, conducted by InfoTrends and provided exclusively to PRIMIR members, reveals insights into this service that growing numbers of printers are now offering, and also how manufacturers of equipment, software, consumables and supplies can provide them with support.

“eCommerce” is defined as buying and selling conducted over a computer network, typically the Internet. The new PRIMIR study explores the drivers of eCommerce in the printing industry and investigates the processes and underlying, but critical, evolving new business models. The study will help printing firms frame their entry in the online market and, for those who already have an eCommerce presence to further evolve their offerings with a focus on customer needs/demands.

The PRIMIR study affirms that developing an eCommerce solution is much more than purchasing software and simply performing transactions in a virtual environment. It is an entirely different business model that requires substantially different skill sets, particularly in the areas of marketing, customer service and Web/IT development. The rise of eCommerce in the printing industry requires firms to rethink how they market their products and services, handle customer service, manage their inventory and supply chain, and leverage the data they collect about users and their purchases.

The study projects that total print eCommerce shipments will increase from $17.4 billion in 2011 to $29.7 billion in 2016, for a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.3 percent. Assuming the total printing industry revenue of approximately $150 billion, eCommerce sales currently account for 12 percent of print revenues.

InfoTrend’s research noted that the print eCommerce market consists of two primary segments: retail providers and private providers. Currently, according to the PRIMIR study, about 24 percent of print service providers (PSPs) offer retail—consumer-facing online printing services. By contrast, 45 percent of print service providers offer private—corporate-facing online printing services. Study findings indicate that, despite the fact that the addressable market (number of printing firms) is projected to decline between 2011 and 2016 by a five-year CAGR of -1.9 percent, the number of print service providers (PSPs) offering private and retail eCommerce platforms will increase. In fact, firms offering private eCommerce platforms will grow by a five-year CAGR of 1.5 percent. Firms offering retail eCommerce platforms will experience a five-year CAGR of 1.4 percent.

Despite the overall projected growth of eCommerce, according to the PRIMIR study eCommerce for print may not be right for all print service providers. In fact in large print firms, generally serving larger enterprise customers with dedicated print procurement professionals, there is resistance to utilizing an eCommerce solution—especially for longer run and/or complex jobs where hands-on customer service is essential.

The comprehensive 242-page PRIMIR research report, “eCommerce & Print Business Models” identifies opportunities and numerous implications for all participants in the print supply chain.

Eligible firms may join PRIMIR now and receive the study at no cost. For more information about this study contact Rekha Ratnam, Assistant Managing Director at phone: 703/264-7200 or e-mail: For PRIMIR membership information, contact Jackie Bland at phone: 434/589-1444 or e-mail: