Printing is a mature industry. The printing industry has been around for over 500 years in some form or another. According to Geoffrey Moore, however, there are multiple levels of maturity for companies and industries. Which of his descriptions sounds most accurate at the moment?
Stage 1: Mature Markets
“Category growth has flattened, and commoditization is under way. [...] Growth cannot be achieved by simply riding the wave of category expansion. Instead, it must come from increasing the yield from our current customer base or growing it at the expense of some other competitor.A round of natural selection ensues with a wave of consolidation thinning out the bottom of the pecking order. Market leaders create top-line growth both organically and through acquisitions. Customers now take the category for granted, and the press no longer writes about it. On the plus side, however, as long as there are no obsoleting technologies on the horizon, category risk is virtually nil.”
Stage 2: Declining Markets
“The category has become thoroughly boxed in, opportunities to innovate are increasingly harder to find, and even the market dominators are finding it challenging to create attractive returns. [...] The market is ripe for some form of disruption, through either an obsoleting technology or a radically innovative business model.”
Stage 3: End of Life
“A disruptive technology has emerged, crossed the chasm, and entered the tornado. [...] The only customers left are conservatives and laggards. Although the category still has a long tail, its future prospects have been permanently curtailed, and investors in public markets flee. This is a classic time to take a company private to harvest the remaining economic value [...].”
Mature markets, like automobiles, can last for quite some time. The only two options for the later maturity stages are innovate or die.