Companies thataren’t able to keep up with the market do not stay around for long. That should be news to no one in America. We’ve all seen that local restaurant or store we liked suddenly close down, unable to make the numbers work well enough to justify them staying in business. While this sad reality happens every day, the only thing businesses can do is make sure they are on top of their game, staying ahead of the competition and remaining desirable to consumers.
No where is this more true than in the sign and graphics industry, a cutthroat business since it is viewed by most consumers as a commodity. Companies are often competing on price while trying to distinguish the quality of their work. If anyone is going to survive this market, they need to find every resource they can in order to hold onto their position. Fortunately, a number of industry resources exist for this.
Overall, the market is trending more towards signage more closely related to actual conversions, rather than those that just garner eyeballs and perhaps lead to a conversion at some point in the near future. What this means practically is that demand for outdoor signage has been falling, dipping 0.4% in 2017 while demand for indoor signage climbed 1.2%. While these numbers themselves may not exactly be all that impressive, if this turns into a long term trend companies operating in this space need to take notice and shift their business models accordingly. If you find yourself competing for a shrinking market, staying in business will only become that much harder.
Another macro-trend for signage businesses to consider – the general economy. Their industry is by and large correlated with the general economy. When things are good, business is good, when things are bad, business takes a hit. After all, there is going to be more demand for signage of all kinds when the economy is growing and businesses are expanding. Consider a construction project – when a construction company is contracted out to build a new high rise, they are going to buy a lot of fence wraps for the site to advertise not only their own brand but what they are building and who it is being built for as well. Once the building is finally completed, there are all sorts of opportunities for signage inside and out. The company that has naming rights to the building will of course want their own brand name in large letters across the top, but companies on all levels throughout the structure will need indoor signage for their offices, especially if they host meeting with customers here. The building’s managers will have to choose outdoor signage as well – dibond is great for outdoor signs – and this means lots of business. Not only the parking lot but also entrances and exits as well as any external events these companies host. Imagine this on a nationwide scale and you can see why the signage and graphics industry is heavily tied to the economy at large.
For that reason, business owners in this industry need to watch macro economic trends and stay ahead of them, preparing for a slump and trimming their fat when they see that coming and then beefing up again when things look on the cusp of improvement.
Speaking of keeping up with the economy, the signage industry is far from immune to technological change. The International Sign Association issues a quarterly report to inform businesses operating in this space, saying demand for digital and electric signs will continue to grow in 2019, though slowing a bit from 2018. New technology in the signage industry will continue to influence this, as older models are phased out in favor of newer, more efficient digital signs that can offer users a better all around display. While this means that demand can continue to grow as the technology improves, it also means that inventory can become obsolete if it is not cycled fast enough. Entrepreneurs here need to make sure that they are not buying last year’s models right before the next best thing comes out in order to get the best price for their purchases.
Overall the industry shows a number of promising indicators for the future, with demand pretty consistently growing. Only by continuing to monitor all these factors can you hope for success in this industry. Groups like the International Sign Association are a great resource for you, as they publish information all the time that can be used to gauge both the effects of the economy at large on the industry and the specifics goings on that will shake things up in the signage and graphics industry. If you don’t keep up, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself for being unable to survive the market!