Small business owners and consumers prefer professional printing services to compete and grow: FedEx Office survey

FedEx Office (Plano, Texas), a provider of printing, packing and shipping services (and a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation), has released the results of its latest national print survey showing that 82% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and 61% of consumers choose to have items professionally printed at the same rate, or at a higher rate, than they did in the previous year. The survey illustrates that professionally printed materials remain highly valued – with nearly half of audiences citing that the convenience offered through digital and mobile access is a very important factor in the printing process.

In the survey, FedEx Office analyzed the opinions of consumers and SMBs about their preferences and purchasing habits regarding professional printing services. Among the key findings: professionally printed materials benefit small businesses in multiple ways, with 92% of respondents indicating it helps them compete with larger organizations. Additionally, nearly 9 in 10 SMBs believe professional printing is very important (or somewhat important) in communicating with potential clients and attracting new business. When deciding where and how to have something professionally printed, a comprehensive service offering that includes quality, support and convenience was cited as extremely important:

  • The survey revealed that professionally printed materials still remain highly valued among both small business owners as well as consumers.

    Quality ranked No. 1 for both consumers (77%) and SMBs (78%).

  • Among SMBs, high quality printing such as colour matching and inks resistant to water, UV light and tearing (64%), as well as the ability to consult with someone on their printing projects (44%), were cited as extremely important.
  • Roughly half of SMBs and consumers cited the convenience of placing an order online or on a mobile device as very important. About the same number of consumers said that being able to obtain a digital proof online is also important.
  • Professional printing also plays a key part in job searches and hiring trends. Professionally printed business cards (64%) and resumés (59%) were found to be very important (or somewhat important) to small business hiring managers – a key element to consider for those involved in the job-search process.
  • Business cards are still heavily used, with more than 76% of consumers and 81% of SMBs using them to connect with people. Also, when it comes to business cards, SMBs are very interested in design and quality, while consumers are more interested in style, card stock and colours.
Brian Philips.

“Even as our world becomes increasingly digital, people prefer to print the materials that matter most to them – whether it’s for personal use, such as a resume, or for business purposes such as collateral reflecting their company’s image,” said Brian Philips, President and CEO of FedEx Office. “Professional printing services continue to grow, and FedEx Office is meeting the demand with services – including colour-matching capabilities, project consulting and the convenience of being able to submit a job anywhere – in-store, online or through a mobile device. We continue to identify trends and opportunities to bridge the physical and digital worlds, using our nationwide network to meet our customers’ needs, no matter the location or project scope,” he added.

About the survey. The poll was conducted from March 8-16, 2019 online via an online panel. Questions were asked among a nationally representative sample of 2,200 respondents in the general population. The data was weighted to targets based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment and region. The margin of error among these respondents is +/- 2 percentage points. Questions were also asked among a nationally representative sample of 500 small and medium-sized business owners. The margin of error among SMBs is +/- 4 percentage points.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.