COVID-19, affectionately known as the coronavirus has caused a pandemic, affecting every continent with the exception of Antarctica. As of March 17, 2020, according to the World Health Organization, there are over 170,000 cases worldwide with over 4,000 of those being in the U.S. The inability to keep this novel coronavirus contained is doing more than putting people’s health at risk worldwide, it is taking a devastating toll on the economy and businesses across all industries. One such business feeling the effects is the print and promotional products industry. Let’s take a deeper look at how this industry is affected and what you should be aware of.
Coronavirus at a Glance
Medical professionals believe that the first known case of COVID-19 was confirmed on November 17, 2019, in a 55-year-old individual living in Hubei province in China. Very early on, researchers believed that the virus originated at a market. However, further investigations concluded that some of the original cases had zero connections with the market. Scientists now suspect that this virus originated in a bat and was potentially transmitted to another species of animal before making its way to humans.
While research is still ongoing, the survival rate appears to be about 99% with most people exhibiting very mild symptoms. While thankfully the survival rate is high, it has not prevented the print and promotional products industry from taking a hit and leading to concerns about transmission through the delivery of goods.
Can Coronavirus Be Spread Through Printed Goods?
Before we get into the specifics of how the pandemic has affected the print industry, let’s first address the question everyone is asking. Understandably there is concern about the virus being spread through imported printed goods and promotional products from China. There is a fear that shipments that are touched or breathed on by infected people will transmit the disease. However, according to the CDC, there is little to worry about in terms of imported printed goods and shipments. Since Coronavirus is spread by respiratory droplets, it does not survive well on surfaces, so there is a very low risk of the virus spreading from products or packaging that take several days to ship even at room temperature. To date, there haven’t been any cases in the U.S. connected with having been transmitted through imported goods.
Production in China Has Resumed, But…
The bottom line is that many North American print companies manufacture their products in China. The first issue is that there was a delay in employees coming back to work because the outbreak coincided with the Chinese New Year. This caused a delay in production and shipment right off the bat because many workers were afraid of coming back due to the virus. Manufacturing plants were left short-handed. The good news is that production in China has resumed. However, it is a domino effect and disruption is still occurring in the supply chain. Companies can still expect a delay in the shipment of printed goods and promotional products.
Postponements and Cancellations are Just as Widespread as COVID-19
In an effort to minimize contact and exposure to the virus, many companies are postponing or canceling conferences, meetings, seminars, events, and so much more. This is an effort to contain the virus, but the side effect is that it is also delaying conducting businesses, which means that businesses are at a standstill. Specifically, the auto show at the Javits Center in New York City is postponed until August. This is creating a ripple effect for printing and promo companies. The issue is that printing and promo companies produce brochures, flyers, mail catalogs, and so much more for these big events. These premium orders are either being canceled or put on hold for a significant amount of time. This translates into a decrease in sales, which will ultimately be detrimental if this trend continues for a long period of time.
The Ability to Assist Businesses in Navigating the Economic Effects of Coronavirus
Companies asking employees to work from home is trending right now in an effort to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. This puts a strain on businesses to be able to create necessary documents to keep running their operation as normally as possible. This is where upscale printing companies can offer great value. For instance, Superior Resource Printing & Graphics has been asked to take over the production of financial client reports, including producing front and back covers, indexing, inside pages, hole punch, collated, and coil bound for institutions that otherwise would not be able to provide their clients with these important documents. In addition to helping businesses continue to run as normally as possible under unique circumstances, it also important to educate the general population on the coronavirus. Hospitals and other medical facilities are asking print companies to produce educational signs and pamphlets to help educate the general population on how they can protect themselves and others against COVID-19.
What Does the Future Hold?
Unfortunately, it is way too early to know what the future will hold as a result of the coronavirus and what the economic impact will be. It is hard to tell what effect this pandemic will have on the print and promo industry as a whole. One thing is for certain, it is already having an effect and more than likely will continue to affect this industry for quite some time. Everyone is hoping the situation does not worsen and that we can all recover in a timely manner. The bottom line is that we are all affected in some way.
There is no doubt that as a business owner or manager, you, like everyone else is striving to minimize risk and exposure to coronavirus for you and your staff while continuing business operations like normal. Superior Resource Printing & Graphics is based in Manhatten, New York and offers the highest-quality printing services to clients including everything from design and promotional products to online services. We can help you fulfill your printing and promotional product needs without increasing your risk of exposure to coronavirus. Contact us today for information on how we can help you navigate your business’s printing needs during this pandemic.