Sign and graphics experts are optimistic about the market—and for good reason. Indicators showed growth through the front-half of 2013, which should propel us into the end of 2013 and beyond. SGIA’s first quarter 2013 Industry Pulse Benchmarking Report indicated a return to more positive numbers after a slight dip in the fourth quarter of 2012. More than 55 percent reported sales levels up from one year ago. Production levels also demonstrated positive results, with more than 57 percent of respondents relaying an increase since the same time last year.
Additionally, out-of-home (OOH) advertising revenue rose five percent in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, accounting for nearly $2.2 billion, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). Revenue for the first half of 2013 reached nearly $3.7 billion. The increase in revenue highlights steady positive year-over-year revenue growth since the second quarter of 2010.
So what do experts predict for the rest of 2013 and where are the growth markets? Keep reading to find out.
WFI: How is the sign & graphics industry faring overall and how do you think the remainder of 2013 will play out?
Marco Boer, VP, IT Strategies: The trends year-over-year aren’t surprising. Growth continues—a rarity in markets for print that, in general, are suffering attrition. What is surprising is the slowdown in equipment sales.
These slowing growth numbers are not an indicator of a market in trouble—rather it is a shift to higher utilization and higher productivity. The life of the typical wide-format inkjet printer in the installed base is extending. What once might have been an average four to five year life has now become a seven to eight year life, and in some cases even longer. Print shop owners are delaying equipment purchases and squeezing more volume out of existing devices. Compounding the slowdown in equipment growth issue is the greater productivity offered by the new printers now available on the market. Simply put, with faster printers fewer are needed.
Gene Chambers, VP of Marketing, Vision Graphics: Overall I think we are faring pretty well! We’re an old industry that has progressed with new technologies that have some wonderful and creative capabilities. Even if you’re a small shop without a lot of new equipment there is still work out there. You may have to look a little harder to find it, but it’s out there. I’ve seen a lot of industries that have come and gone because of the new technologies, but the sign industry still alive and kicking.
Neil Felton, Managing Director, Exhibitions & Events, FESPA: Our latest World Wide Survey 4 (WWS4) carried out earlier this year in collaboration with InfoTrends revealed that printers are the most optimistic they have been for five years.
There will be a lot of opportunities for printers over the next five to 10 years and beyond. The industry is ever changing, especially with the shift in emphasis to digital printing, which has taken the sector by storm over the past 10 years or so.
The mission for printers should be to listen to their customers and deliver an effective solution. This is quite often printed in digital these days.
Eric Frank, VP of Marketing, KBA North America: The sign and graphics industry is doing very well. InfoTrends predicts that retail wide-format printing will see a tremendous growth this year and next and expects the retail value of wide-format printing in North America to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.9 percent, reaching $23.6 billion by 2016.
Kirk Green, Owner, Ferrari Color: The industry seems to be growing again, albeit slowly. Clients have budgets to spend, but they want something new and innovative—not the same standard signs. Early indications show that this year was similar to last, but if the rest of this year is anything like this summer, 2013 will end up very strong.