Tim Greene, Wide Format Service Director, InfoTrends: We believe that the market in 2013 has been fairly stable with small amounts of growth, driven by the retail and restaurant/food service industries which look like some of the fastest growing segments year-on-year.
Ken Hanulec, VPof Marketing, EFI Inkjet Solutions: The sign and graphics industry is building a better platform for the future, which is definitely a good thing. Out-of-home advertising remains a key market and, while electronic signage is a challenge to print, I don’t think the electronic market has developed as quickly as many would have expected, possibly because of the initial cost needed to create those types of installations.
It may be a difficult market for the printing industry as a whole, especially in the analog print space, but the possibilities we’re seeing in the market with UV, LED, and fabric and textile digital printing applications really changes the conversation.
Jenny Kigin, Marketing Operations Manager, 3M Commercial Graphics: Overall the industry is thriving. The economy is more stable, which has a stabilizing effect on the graphics market. Because of the improving economy, customers have a greater comfort level in rebranding. Younger companies are considering new or expanded branding. And the personalization trend continues to be vibrant. Most of our graphics manufacturer customers indicate they are very busy and expect to stay that way for at least the rest of the year. So overall, 2013 has been a good year with most graphics manufacturers expecting modest growth through the end of the year.
Rick Moore, Sr. Director of Marketing - Distribution Products, MACtac: The industry is very resilient considering a downgraded economic forecast and sluggish global advertising demand are both weighing heavily on the industry. I believe we have enough positive momentum heading into the back half of the year that 2013 will be solid.
Catherine Monson, CEO, FASTSIGNS: From talking with our friends in the industry—other franchisors, competitors, association leaders, and vendors—we understand that the industry is experiencing growth. We believe that the industry will end the year with sound growth in the seven to nine percent range overall.
Kevin Murphy, President & CEO, Onyx Graphics, Inc.: The North American market is showing signs of an upswing. PSPs now have a greater appreciation of margins and cost structure of the full printing enterprise, which can help them positively impact profitability. Businesses have learned to be profitable under very unique circumstances.
The year will end better than expected. Customers are investing in printing hardware and print workflow software products to improve the efficiency of their printing process. With the expectation that employee costs will increase, they are simplifying and automating their printing process.
Ray Palmer, President – Alliance Franchise Brands, Sign & Graphics Division (Signs Now, Signs By Tomorrow, and Image360): The market place has been in flux for several years, and I don’t think that is any different now. But we don’t look at these changes as a bad thing. I believe our industry is faring well, as there are opportunities for growth in very different places, compared to a few years ago. Although the market place is settling down and we are seeing positive numbers, there is still increasing pressure on margins, and we need to remain watchful.
As the economy continues to improve, we can expect sales to rise modestly, ending on an up note for the year.
Joan Perez Pericot, Marketing Director, Large-Format Sign and Display Division, HP: The sign and display market continues to face several challenges, such as the shift of marketing dollars to social and Web campaigns, the growth of digital screens, or the European economic crisis that is also impacting China. However, if we look beyond signage to complementary markets, there are many segments showing strong growth potential. These markets include textiles, wall décor, and corrugated displays, just to name a few. We also see a very strong growth opportunity for sign and display in the Americas, driven both by the market recovery in North America and the booming economies in Latin America.