In a presentation recently, I was asked if there were specific times in-plants are more likely to invest. I had to think for a second because the commercial and in-plant investment plans are different in many ways.
First, in-plants tend to hang on to equipment longer. For example, there are many in-plants with presses that are over 15 years old. Second, while both commercial printers and in-plants are effected by the growth and declines in the economy, they are not impacted at the same time.
It can be argued that as the economy shrinks or grows so does sales of print and print-related products. Commercial printers are impacted almost immediately while the impact to in-plants tends to be delayed, similar to how economists talk about leading and lagging indicators. I believe this delay is the result of the time before the in-plant’s parent companies feels the upturn or downturn in the economy.