Peter Salaverry sometimes draws amusement from the promotional efforts of competitors. As CEO of Dallas-based vehicle wraps firm SkinzWraps, he’s in a good position to judge those efforts, and one he finds comical is the promotion by a wraps purveyor who trumpets his company’s 30 years in the field.
“I love it when somebody claims 30 years experience in this business, and the business is only 10 years old,” Salaverry said with a derisive chuckle.
Even after a full 10 years, the vehicle wraps field continues among the wide-format print industry’s most fluid, dynamic segments. Materials and tools are improving, helping simplify and expedite production and installations. Meantime, the market is also evolving quickly, from one aimed at business fleets to one in which individual car owners are also potential clients. Ultimately, indisputably, the field is growing, both in its primary market and submarkets.
The reason for that ongoing growth is pretty simple, said Keoni Denison, director of the Carolina division of Washington, DC-based Capital Wraps, for whom 85 percent of business derives from vehicle wraps. It comes down to the effectiveness—or lack thereof—of traditional advertising media, he said.
Newspapers and other print media, TV, radio and Yellow Pages all are waning in advertising efficiency. “You have to have an online presence these days, but after that what are your options?” Denison asked. “If you have vehicles, covering them with wraps as opposed to the traditional letters, it makes a tremendous difference. In sharp contrast to the sea of vans with white letters across their sides, vehicle wraps are four-color graphics or pictorial representations that are great at drawing eyes and capturing attention. We’ve worked both with companies that only have one or two vehicles, as well as those who have a sizable fleet and add 15 or 20 vehicles every year.”
The prime vehicle graphics market of business fleets continues to deliver opportunity to providers. But helping the segment grow are offshoots of that business into the market of private car owners, Salaverry said. In recent years, matte black vehicle wraps have become favorites of many car owners. Salaverry predicts interest in having the appearance of cars altered through vehicle graphics will only grow as colored and camouflage films appear.
Sean Tomlin is another observer who foresees the segment continuing to grow. Tomlin, owner of Millville, NJ’s Designer Wraps, said the “personalization market” is bringing about demand for greens, blues and carbon fiber films.
Still ahead, the market is likely to see customized treatments based on designs or photography created by the car owners themselves. “People are customizing their cars with rims, tinted windows and stereo systems, and this is just the next phase,” he said. “The fact that it’s temporary is part of the appeal.”
In some areas of the country, another offshoot may be watercraft, said Kris Harris, vice-president and co-owner of Road Rage Designs, a decade-old business that concentrates about 95 percent of its efforts on vehicle graphics. The wrapping of personal boats with names and logos of the companies the boat owners manage is becoming more popular in the Chain O Lakes area, a region northwest of Chicago that is the busiest waterway in the country, Harris said.
Simplifying the Old Routines
Technological improvement continues to make the production and installation of vehicle graphics easier and quicker. According to Denison, materials available to vehicle graphics companies are significantly improved. New adhesives make installation easier, and casts and super-casts that permit films to be stretched and formed over more complicated vehicular surfaces have increased the speeds and effectiveness of the installations. Some of the inks have also improved when contrasted with those used years ago, he said.