Which Industries Print the Most?



The answer isn’t so simple. According to Printing Impressions, the 10 industries expected to spend the most printed materials are:

  • Packaged foods ($19.9 billion) - everything you purchase comes in a printed package.
  • Medical and Pharmaceutical ($18.8 billion) - from billing to brochures the medical and pharmaceutical industries do a lot of printing!
  • Publishing ($12.4 billion) - books, periodicals, and more!
  • Health providers ($11.7 billion) - helping printing investments in marketing materials and print advertising.
  • Travel and Hospitality ($11.1 billion) - plenty of printed materials here!
  • Real estate ($10.9 billion) - despite the rise of real estate apps, print is still a powerful tool in the advertising business.
  • Beverages ($10.7billion) - packaging, labels, and advertising.
  • Banking/Insurance ($10.5 billion) - all those annual reports!
  • Telecommunications ($10.2 billion) - wireless providers invest heavily in print.
  • Foodservice ($9 billion) - blitz advertising, updated menus, and a plethora of printing.

It's common knowledge that printing is very routine in the workplace, but which industries print the most?

It's common knowledge that printing is very routine in the workplace, but which industries print the most?

Using a 2016 study by Print Audit in addition to more recent sources, this post will uncover which industries print the most on average. Within the study, "user" signifies an employee within the respective industry.

The infographic below serves to summarize the data included in the study (2018 numbers). As illustrated, the study assessed the average  printing output of 9 different industries: Accounting, Education, Finance, Government, Law, Medical, Retail, Tech, and Transport.

Updated 2021 Rankings

#1: Education

Educators use a lot of paper. The Reflective Educator reports an average school uses 360,000 sheets of paper per year.

There are approximately 131,000 schools in the United States meaning over 47 billion sheets of paper are used by educators each year.

Divide that by a 180 day school year and that leaves a mindboggling 262 million pages per day being used in our nation’s schools.

Teachers and professors hand out a lot of papers, both as assignments and study materials. In addition, the administrative side of education deals with a lot of paperwork.

#2: Law

According to Marco Technologies, a single attorney generates an average of 60,000 pages per year.

Assuming a forty-hour workweek, that averages to 30 pages per hour or a whopping 240 pages per day!

This makes a great deal of sense when considering the substantial administrative requirements lawyers deal with on a regular basis, and the consistent necessity for paperwork those requirements facilitate.

#3: Medical

Coming in third is the Medical industry. According to Healthcare Finance, a typical 1,500-bed hospital prints more than 8 million pages per month!

That’s an average of 178 printed pages per hospital bed every day.

And that number is only for hospitals.

It’s estimated that the typical medical office worker generates another 36.5 pages per day. Combined, that’s an average of 214 pages of patient paperwork generated each day by the medical community.

This also does not come as a surprise, taking into account the considerable amount of paperwork necessitated for each patient, as well as the extensive research and educational requirements within the Medical industry. With peoples’ lives on the line, there is exceptional liability risk within Medicine, and that liability facilitates the need for administrative paperwork and lots of it.

#4: Accounting

Next is Accounting, at 35.5 average pages printed per user. Income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements — the Accounting industry involves a multitude of financial documents, and these documents typically are printed out either initially or after being filled out digitally.

Accountants also must print out administrative paperwork when dealing with clients. Sadly, CPC Office Technologies projects 17% of printed paperwork never gets used again after the initial printing.

#5: Finance

The Accounting industry is followed by the Finance industry at 20.2 average pages printed per user. According to BizTech most financial firms don’t see their paper use decreasing over the next couple of years.

Much like Accounting, Finance involves many printed documents as well as administrative paperwork.


Not surprising however is the Tech industry assuming the last position in the study. 

Tech companies do not deal with anywhere near the necessity for paperwork as the majority of these industries and while there are administrative requirements of running a tech business, they are substantially less in relation to industries dealing with significantly more administrative tasks and liability. 

This is of course dependent on the specific tech company, but overall it is logical to assume that the average tech company employee would print far less than an employee within Law, Medicine, Education, ect.

Several other key points can be drawn from this study. First off, employees who print (users) within each industry print at a substantial rate on a daily basis.

Secondly, despite the rise of tablets, smartphones, and cloud-based apps, printing remains an industry staple across the board. Employees still need physical documents for a large portion of their tasks and physical documents must be printed.

Further Reading:

  • cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1803/4615/files/w_prid22.pdf?9479
  • keypointintelligence.com/news/industry-news/2017/october/print-audit-releases-2015-2016-comparative-industry-printing-statistics/
  • davidwees.com/content/paper-use-schools/
  • marconet.com/blog/legal-tender-paper-is-still-the-lifeblood-of-a-law-firm
  • healthcarefinancenews.com/news/hospitals-are-increasing-their-printing-activity-resulting-drain-revenue
  • cpctek.com/print-accounting
  • biztechmagazine.com/article/2019/09/printers-still-have-place-financial-services
Rob Errera

Rob Errera

Rob Errera is an award-winning journalist embedded in the world of printers and printing supplies. Rob has nearly two decades of experience writing about cutting edge technology, business trends, and the ever-evolving industry of printing.

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