It’s officially 2022. Here’s what we can expect from the print marketing world.

“For leaders who thrive on certainty, the past two years have been anything but predictable.” – Devin Banerjee, Editor at LinkedIn 

Print is a widely used marketing tool that benefits all those in small businesses to major corporations and across all industries. As we look to 2022 and beyond, commercial printing is expected to see consistent growth despite the rise of digital advertising and shortages of paper goods and labor. 

Here are some awesome commercial printing industry statistics from and Print Is Big that we can look forward to in 2022: 

  • Commercial printing brings in about $900 billion in income each year. 
  • Direct mail grows by 4% to 5% per year as an advertising mail tactic. 
  • Direct mail initiatives are used by 72 percent of businesses. 
  • In the last five years, technological efficiencies in commercial printing have increased profit margins by more than 20%. 
  • U.S. advertisers spend about $160 on average per person and see a 1,255% return. 
  • Direct mail in the U.S. generated incremental sales of $2.2 trillion in 2012. 

Will companies continue to expand their annual print budgets to increase exposure in the marketplace in the upcoming years? 

Although there will be challenges due to the aftermath of the pandemic, the predicted answer is yes, commercial printing efforts will continue to expand.  

The advantages of print marketing continue to grow. Due to the privacy policies set in place by Apple in 2021, digital advertising’s targeting measures have been drastically impacted. In turn, print advertisements have become a strong tactic with marketers as print remains the exception to these policies because it is resistant to ad-blocking software and provides access to highly targeted audience segments that may be difficult to reach via digital display ads. 

In a recent report, we found most businesses consider print a necessary marketing tactic as it helps attract new customers, acquire sustainable growth, brand loyalty, brand awareness, and boosts ROI. According to, almost 40% (39%) of customers try a business for the first time due to direct-mail marketing. This is mainly because it provides a higher trust factor. 

In this article, we will discuss print trends and challenges that your business can expect to see in 2022.  

Print challenges we continue to see based off 2021 data: 

  • Supply chain issues 
  • Labor shortages 
  • Price inflation 

Below we will go into further details of the challenges mentioned. 

Supply Chain Issues 

The pandemic created bottlenecks that shut down factories, relocated workers, and slowed output around the world, which majorly impacted the supplies of goods and services. In the printing industry, it created freight delays and labor shortages, while simultaneously severely limiting product inventory.  

As we all know, this has had an impact on every industry, including publishing, which is currently experiencing book shortages due to massive production, storage, and delivery delays as well. 

Despite these challenges, 2022 will give those in the print industry, who have managed to stay ahead, a moment to shine. A handful of US commercial printing companies, including Solo Printing, have managed to invest in large quantities of paper inventory, which allows them to better manage price inflation for print products and stay ahead of larger production issues for clients. However, for the printing businesses who have not had that opportunity have had to experience closures, sell equipment, or broker print projects to bigger print companies, like Solo.  

Manufacturing Labor Shortage 

As of September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 800,000 vacancies in manufacturing positions. Although the pandemic had a significant impact on the shortage, it is also possible that it is the result of retirement, as many manufacturing positions are occupied by older workers. Now, companies are working diligently to bring appeal to their facilities and their numerous job openings. The goal is not only to retain current employees, but also attract new ones. As we go through 2022, this will be an ongoing challenge for manufacturing companies everywhere.  

Labor shortages also cause delays throughout the production processes, which in turn affect delivery and deadlines.  

Solo Printing is fortunate to have maintained all 150 employees throughout the pandemic. We are currently hiring a range of positions throughout our plant and corporate office to help boost our production efforts. If you or someone you know would be interested in a position at Solo, please visit our careers page:

Paper Price Inflation 

Paper pricing will continue to rise in 2022 as a result of paper mill manufacturing shortages, which will be compounded by increasing customer demand and a desire for speedier, less expensive paper products and mailing. 

The best way to offset the paper price increase as a customer is in the power of planning ahead. By planning, commercial print providers can provide more options for paper selection and ensure inventory that can best fit your project. 

These past two years, we have had to embrace new ways in how to use paper, make print products, and ship postage. As a leading commercial print service provider, it’s our goal to adapt to the changing print landscape. 

Here are the top trends in printing you can expect for 2022: 

Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns 

Direct mail marketing remains one of the best, accessible forms of advertising for any type of business. It provides easy access to customers through tangible messaging. Custom mail pieces can be sent through hyper-targeted lists, sent by EDDM, or included in packet offers from any type of company. It’s beneficial and effective in reaching cold, prospective, and current customers. And, with more people working from home, there is a much higher chance for response rates from direct mail recipients.  

Another benefit is that they serve as conveniently inexpensive campaigns in comparison to digital advertising, and still offer impressive ROI results. Direct mail stats published by Marketing Charts show that direct mail brings a 29% ROI while social media has a 30% ROI. (Source) 

With the rise of social media, the value proposition for direct mail will increase in 2022 because of the sheer clutter in other social media channels. It’s easier to get from point A to point B with paper instead of struggling to reach a user’s feed that is already oversaturated with the ads of your competitors. Another important factor is that it is one of the only channels that can’t be opted out of or blocked by the recipient.  

Direct mail digital integration is also an expected trend that many businesses will incorporate in 2022. 

Commercial printing companies will offer these services, like Solo’s SP Direct, to help businesses double the impact of their direct mail campaigns. By combining direct mail with digital advertising, you can utilize every available marketing channel. For example, 80% of sales are made between the 8th and 12th contact with a prospect. Direct mail digital integration services like, SP Direct, aim to add an additional 8 to 16 touches to each direct mail recipient – increasing your results by multitudes. 

By partnering the power of direct mail with an aligned marketing strategy, an omnichannel campaign will allow your marketing team to increase your company’s ROI by growing your brand visibility and attracting new prospects across all their personal devices. 


Forbes deemed 2021 “The Year of The Package.” Amidst the pandemic, paper mills began shifting their production from paper to packaging to fulfill the growing need which was brought about from increased online shopping throughout the pandemic. This shift in production in turn caused a global widespread paper shortage. Because of this, packaging products will continue to grow as a convergent of commercial printing companies. However, packaging is known to have limited sustainable benefits, therefore many companies are moving toward printing and packaging companies that are offering more sustainable packaging choices. 

Print in Marketing Automation 

The automated use of digital programmatic ad selling combined with direct mail and traditional print ad distribution is known as programmatic printing. Programmatic printing connects marketing automation platforms with a digital print production workflow that is highly automated. It has the ability to deliver a wide range of print media, including brochures, catalogs, magazines, newsletters, postcards, and more. 

When a person clicks on a digital banner ad, for example, the programmatic printing process leverages the data triggers gathered to deliver the user a high-quality, branded print product within 72 hours of their contact with your brand. 

Every vendor’s programmatic printing process is different, but the basics include selecting an audience for your brand’s digital advertisement, creating print products to match that targeted audience, and then setting up an automated data process to automatically print the direct mail products that will be sent to the users from whom the data was collected. 

Marketers can create a more cost-effective, personalized experience for their customers by taking advantage of programmatic printing and the behavioral benefits of direct mail. 

Nonprofit Direct Mail 

Direct response fundraising continues to be a great form of advertising for nonprofits. According the, the use of direct mail helps to boost online donations by 40%. This is important because it’s vital to reach, retain and attract donors. And, with that, a direct mail campaign is the most effective way to keep your donors in the know about your cause or foundation. Your direct mail campaign can add value and an insight into the support of your nonprofit, which provides an increased opportunity for donations. In addition, nonprofits and other organizations can improve response rates by combining direct mail with digital advertising. 

Another benefit of direct mail fundraising is its cost effectiveness. Many nonprofits need to greatly monitor spending budgets, which is why this is a great choice for advertising.  

Another trend in nonprofit direct mail campaigns is including envelopes. Statistics from Who’s Mailing What! show that envelopes are used in 90% of non-profit fundraising direct mail. In 2022, envelopes will continue to be a trend for direct mail fundraising as it catches recipient’s attention. 

Solo Printing supports non-profits with fundraising campaigns through direct mail marketing services. 

Our world class equipment will create print products for your organization that help it increase awareness of its cause so that it can succeed better. Contact us today to better connect with your donors. 

Variable Data Printing 

Variable data printing (also known as VDP) is a method of digital printing that is growing in popularity due to the power it gives marketers, businesses, and others to customize individual pieces in a larger batch of printed materials. Variable data printing allows you to forge deeper connections with your direct mail’s recipient and your brand!  

Direct mail marketers rely heavily on variable data printing. Conversion rates increase when personalized direct mail advertising is sent to each recipient. Prospective clients appreciate personalized direct mail, especially if the mail addresses them by their first or last name. 

With variable data printing, you can add your business’s logo, name, address, and more to just about any printed piece. VDP is also effective, allowing you to adjust background colors, images, and text off the original piece. For example, VDP is perfect for when you’re sending your new customers a personalized welcome card. 

Variable Data makes use of analytical campaign data to produce targeted messages that have a higher level of impact and engagement. Marketers can use variable data printing to run automated marketing campaigns that are triggered by specific customer actions and events. This is also beneficial in Programmatic Printing. 

Want to learn more about Variable Data Printing, contact us using the form below.  

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *