The Current State and Future of the Sign Industry
During the 2012 ISA International Sign Expo, more than 200 respondents were surveyed on the current state of the sign industry, including supply/equipment manufacturers, end users, shop owners, distributors and more. The results were enlightening, encouraging and positive.
The State of the Industry
Most respondents to the survey were positive on the current state of the industry. Growth for businesses in the sign industry was up over the same period in 2011, and the majority of respondents indicated they expected to see significant growth in 2013. New equipment purchases and hiring more employees are the most common ways businesses intend to meet the challenges of this new growth.
A variety of different sign professionals were included in this response, including cut vinyl signs, handcrafted signs, digital displays, architectural signs, electric signs and digitally printed signs, as well as others.
The most significant growth within the three main segments (manufacturers, distributors and sign shops) was in the manufacturing area. Almost 60% of manufacturers reported their business grew more than 10% in the initial six months of 2012.
A Changing Industry
Change has been a constant in the past year, and respondents to the survey indicated they felt that most change was concentrated in a couple of different areas:
- 27% indicated over 20% growth
- 3% indicated a decline in business
- 60% of manufacturers reported growth
- 83% of sign shops reported growth
In addition to overall industry growth, respondents were highly positive about new business opportunities. These opportunities were ranked as follows in order of importance:
- Outdoor digital/electronic signs
- Outdoor electric signs
- New digital printing technology conversion
- Wide/super-wide digital printing
- Sign installation and maintenance
- Architectural/ADA signs
- Sustainable/green signs and printing technology
- Several other key areas
A Bright Future
While the outlook for the industry right now is positive, the future looks even brighter for most survey respondents. A surprising 74% of respondents indicated they intended to purchase new equipment in the coming year to facilitate better service offerings and productivity over just 56% the previous year. CEOs weren’t quite as optimistic concerning positive growth as other respondents, though. While most expected to see growth, a bullish attitude was most dominant in this group.
Factors Affecting the Future
When questioned about which factors would have the most effect on their sign business in the coming year, respondents provided a wide range of answers. Economic uncertainty was the #1 factor across the board, but others included:
- Technology changes
- Financing availability
- Energy costs
- Government regulations
- Lack of skilled workers
The future for suppliers, manufacturers and distributors looks even brighter, with almost 40% of respondents anticipating growth between 11 and 15%, while almost 30% of respondents indicated they expected to see growth of 20% or higher.
For the significant number of businesses expecting to hire new staff, key hiring areas included the following (listed in order of expected growth):
The predicted service areas that will see the most growth in the coming year constituted a wide range of segments, though new digital printing technology was expected to see the most growth (79%). Others included outdoor dynamic signs, mobile advertising and outdoor electric signs.
All in all, the results were enlightening, uplifting and point the way towards a brighter future for every business within the industry. It’s an exciting time to be part of this growing family.
To get the full report, visit the ISA website.Posted in: Artcicles, News, Trade Show