Editor's Note: Market Recovery

I love the idea Tempe, AZ-based bluemedia had with its “End of the Recession” Party. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the official judge of when recessions begin and end, the 21-month recession that started in December 2007 bottomed out in August 2009. So, in September, bluemedia and F1 Race Factory decided to hold a party.

“Better times are right around the corner,” said Jared Smith, founder and president of bluemedia and the organizer behind the event. “It’s time to officially kick it off!”

And honestly, who doesn’t love a party?

Seriously, though, the recession has had a profound impact on all businesses in the wide- and grand-format industry. I don’t think anyone, or any business, has been immune. Some sectors of the market have been hit harder than others—from the building industries to the retail signage and vehicle graphics markets—but many industry experts are saying that the recovery is already underway in this market.

Marco Boer, a partner at IT Strategies, made some interesting comments about the industry and its recovery. He noted that while the CAD market and $200,000+ wide-format printers were most affected, some of the lower-priced hardware—such as $100,000 to $200,000 UV-flatbed printers—has seen more placements and movement. "From watching dealer sell-through of hardware, it appears that the market has hit bottom in Q3, 2009. The quarter over quarter declines have stopped, and we’re likely to see some renewed growth in Q4, 2009. However, it has to be put into context because while we may see statistics that show 10 percent or higher growth from Q3 to Q4, 2009 in unit sales, the reality is that sales may still be down as much as 40 percent or more when compared to one year ago. Those who have been able to adjust to the ’new state of the market’ and who have cut their overhead/investments correspondingly and survived may indeed find that growth in Q4 will lead to strong profits."

For more insights about the current state of the wide- and grand-format market, please turn to Part One of our annual State of the Industry Report beginning on page 10. And for future predictions, stay tuned for next month where we’ll examine what technologies will help push the market forward and where we’ll be in 12 months.

And if you want to get a look at some of those technologies, make sure you visit SGIA Expo 2009 in New Orleans. You can get a sneak peek of the new products that will be showcased on the show floor beginning on page 34. And if you’re in New Orleans, make sure you stop at booth #2720 to say hello. See you in the Big Easy!