“Wide-/grand-format, especially point-of-purchase applications, will continue to be the fastest growing print sector. Consumers are making more purchase decisions closer to the product. That means more advertising dollars are being spent closer to the product, and that’s good for our community,” said Michael Robertson, president, CEO, SGIA.
Manevitch also points to dynamic digital signage as another market to look for expansion. “Dynamic digital signage is becoming more prevalent now. Go to any new Wal-Mart and you’re bound to see interior digital signage used heavily. The ability to place a computer and LCD monitor in a location (or LED outside) makes a lot of sense. The end-user receives an attention-grabbing sign for a reasonable investment, and the center owner can—if he or she wants—receive residual revenue from the sale in the form of content development and delivery.”
So, where is the industry headed? “Up baby. Way, way up,” said EFI’s Van Horn. Most experts agree that while the we shouldn’t expect to see the double-digit growth of the past several years, growth is on the horizon.
“I think that in a one year time frame the market as a whole will return to its growth pattern as both the economy continues a slow recovery as well as the potential that digital printing offers in the entire market segment,” said Howard.
“We have been seeing slow but steady signs of improvement in the market from quarter two on, and expect to see continued recovery over the next 12 months. The demand for advertising, fine art, and trade show graphics is going to rebound as the economy improves and companies begin to expand their budgets again,” said InteliCoat’s McCarron.
“This is a tough time for the wide-format industry, but the future is not as bleak as it seems. Manufacturers are hard at work to make their products accessible to a wider market. There has been a flurry of software and workflow solutions that can help PSPs run better and more smoothly. The market has stabilized and there are actually a few signs of life,” said Florek. “Still, an industry-wide shake-up is occurring, and there will probably be fewer firms operating next year. The challenge for end users is to communicate why wide-format print is necessary. It is absolutely crucial for PSPs to explore and create new markets.”
“We believe there will be stabilization of the marketplace in the next year, and possibly some growth toward the end of the next 12 months. Wide-format printing and finishing technology will continue to evolve and improve, providing customers an even better product at affordable prices,” said Monson. “Large-format graphic businesses that have a solid plan, and then work that plan, will ensure their customers get the wide-format products they need to grow their businesses, and as a result, the graphic company’s business will grow.”
“The economic crisis has forced both manufacturers and PSPs to evaluate how they do business and ways that they can be more efficient. All companies seem to be doing more with less and as the economy recovers, businesses will be in a position to prosper due to the changes that are being made now,” said Mohni.
“Hopefully the overall economic environment will have improved to the point where more people are getting back to work. I always think that employment is the critical metric. But even if employment goes up we have some very significant challenges in that will not have gone away in 12 months,” said InfoTrends’ Greene. “While manufacturers are working very hard to continue to make wide-format digital printing easier, less expensive, and ‘greener’, we continue to see more printing companies enter the wide-format graphics market, this makes it a more competitive space. We also see a lot of growth in the digital signage/digital display business which presents an alternative to digitally printed graphics. In short, we are not expecting a full rebound to previous levels of business in the 12 month time frame.”
“We continue to be bullish about the industry. It has been, and will continue to be, resilient due to the fact that we are able to adapt. We will begin to see ourselves competing against a new set of competitors for new markets and applications. Firms need to do what they must to stay viable. The strongest will survive,” said IRgA’s Bova.