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Data on Design Firms

Companies generate $7.8 billion in revenues annually, reports SFM

Big Picture
Design firms generate $7.8 billion in revenues annually and purchase about $165 million in capital equipment, according to a new study by Strategies for Management Inc. (SFM). The study, "The US Graphic Design Business: 2004-2009," seeks to provide an accurate snapshot of the US graphic-design industry, including revenue and capital-purchasing levels for design businesses as well as freelancers.

More of the report's findings:

--As of 2004 the US graphic-design industry has more than 16,000 individual businesses, 60,000 employees, and more than 74,000 freelancers

--Freelancers account for more than $3.4 billion in revenues and nearly $46 million in equipment-buying each year.

--Total industry revenues for both graphic-design businesses and freelancers in 2004 is estimated at more than $11 billion, and is expected to top $13 billion by 2009.

--Individual design establishments are expected to generate average revenues of $491,000 in 2004, and more than $550,000 in 2009.

--Industry-wide, equipment purchasing by design firms and freelancers is expected to grow from $211 million in 2004 to $250 million in 2009.

--Graphic design firms currently employ about 60,000 people, a level expected to reach nearly 68,000 employees by 2009.

--Nearly 75% of design businesses employ 1 to 4 people, and almost 90% have fewer than 10 employees.

--The 50 largest firms comprise less than 1% of the number of establishments, but account for more than16% ($1.3 billion) of the industry's total billings.

--15% of the industry's graphic-design firms are newly created each year.

--Freelancer gross revenues are expected to increase from more than $3.4 billion in 2004 to more than $3.8 billion in 2009.

--The industry currently has more than 74,000 graphic-design freelancers, and this is expected to grow to beyond 86,000 by the end of the decade.

The study also identifies the fallout in the graphic-design industry that began in 2001, and which had its major impact in 2002. This was primarily caused by reduced demand for both Web- and print-based design work, as well as the general economic slowdown in the US that began in mid-2000 and continued through 2002. Both factors were a major disruption in the design industry. Estimated economic data from the last two years (2003-2004) shows the dust has now settled in the graphic-design market, and projections indicate the industry will progressively grow through the rest of the decade, forecasts SFM.

The report is available for download at http://store.yahoo.com/drjoe/graphicdesign.htm. Price: $2875.

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