SGIA Journal November/December 2013 - (Page 73)

Extracting Lessons from SGIA's 2013 Industry Data Below, we've featured key sections from SGIA's core Benchmarking Reports (Equipment & Financial Outlook, and Market Trends & Product Specialties), highlighted the "high points," and extracted eight key lessons for today's wide-format sign and graphics producers. The influence of digital printing technology is strong in this sector, and more than 68 percent of companies classify themselves as "entirely digital" or "multi-technology, but mostly digital," as compared to the 11 percent who classify themselves as "multitechnology, but mostly analog" or "entirely analog." Digitally printed products are produced by 97 percent of sign and graphics producers, screen printed products are the second most commonly produced, at 53 percent, and litho/offset products at 26.7 percent. Other imaging technologies are also used. Lesson 1: The wide-format sector will continue to grow (and become more competitive) as companies from declining print sectors seek new, profitable opportunities. Equipment purchases, both planned and actual, are strong in the sign and graphics segment. Three-fourths of companies purchased production equipment during 2012, and more than 80 percent planned to purchase production equipment during 2013. When companies in this segment purchase equipment, purchase price and range of capabilities are of highest importance. Regarding existing equipment used for production, roll-to-roll inkjet (less than 69 inches in width) machines and software (RIP, creative, etc.) are operated in more than three-fourths of companies responding. Lesson 3: While inkjet systems are certainly "must haves" in this industry, the purchasing shift toward workflow/process management solutions and finishing technologies shows companies seeking to differentiate themselves. Asked to choose from a list of factors that may serve as barriers to company growth, nearly 60 percent reported downward pressure on prices to be of particular concern, followed by finding new customers and rising costs, which were selected - in descending order, respectively - by roughly 45 percent of those responding. Nearly three-fourths of companies are expanding into existing markets as a way to achieve growth, while slightly more than 55 percent are developing new markets. Lesson 2: Purchases in the wide-format sector continue to be robust, even as the introduction of game-changing inkjet platforms has slowed. Equipment obsolescence is much shorter than that found in traditional, analog printing technology. The most purchased items (in 2012) were production software, flatbed inkjet printers (with print areas greater than four by eight feet), and solvent inkjet printers (less than 96 inches in width). The equipment most intended for purchase in 2013 was reported as cutting/trimming equipment, production tools (color measurement, etc.) and flatbed inkjet printers (with print areas greater than four by eight feet). In terms of the number of presses used in production, roll-to-roll inkjet units are found most widely. Lesson 4: Gone are the days of "cushy" margins experienced during wide-format inkjet's adoption phase. Competition is increasingly fierce and commoditization is creeping into some product/market areas. Sign and graphics companies serve, on average, 7.9 market areas. Retail stores continue to be the top market area served by sign and graphics companies, followed by corporate branding, food services Digital Printing Three-fourths of companies purchased production equipment during 2012, and more than 80 percent planned to purchase production equipment during 2013. Existing Purchased 2012 Plan to Purchase: 2013 Software (RIP, creative, color, production management, etc.) 76.5% 27.2% 12.3% Production tools (color measurement, proofing, viewing, etc.) 64.2% 13.6% 21.0% Roll-to-roll inkjet, less than 96 inches wide 77.8% 16.0% 13.6% Roll-to-roll inkjet, more than 96 inches wide 35.8% 9.9% 11.1% Flatbed inkjet, print area of four by eight feet or less 23.4% 12.3% 8.6% Flatbed inkjet, print area greater than four by eight feet 32.1% 17.3% 19.7% Inkjet, direct-to-garment 1.2% 1.2% 5.0% Inkjet, dye sublimation 7.4% 6.2% 6.2% Pre-Press Presses Visit SGIA at SGIA Journal ■ November/December 2013 | 73

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SGIA Journal November/December 2013

How to Survey Your Print Customers
Nanography™ and Nanotechnology: A Primer
How to Select Your Next Wide-Format Printer, Part II
Determining & Nurturing Your Areas of Opportunity
UV LED Printing: Will Your Business Be Left Behind?
Making Big Decisions: Will Doing Nothing Destroy Your Business?
MIS: Is Your System Working For You or Against You?
Sustainability and Media
Standardization and Process Control in Wide-Format Printing: Why It Will Change Your Life (And Make Your Customer Happy)
Test the Water Before you Commit with SGIA's Digital Equipment Evaluations
How CorelDRAW® Can Help Transform Your Sign Shop
A Time for Leadership: A Survival Guide for the 21st Century
Extracting Lessons from SGIA’s 2013 Industry Data
New Products
UV LED Technology & the 2013 SGIA Expo
The Ins and Outs of Color Management
SGIA Bestows “Product of the Year” Designation on Top Entries at 2013 SGIA Expo

SGIA Journal November/December 2013