Most sign and graphic companies across Canada and the U.S. experienced positive sales growth in 2017, according to a survey by the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), suggesting the industry continues to be strong.
Based on responses from nearly 200 companies, the survey found the median sales revenue increased by 60 per cent from 2016 to 2017, topping US$2.3 million, even while the median number of employees remained the same, at 12. This suggests automation is helping sign and graphics shops increase productivity.
The industry’s most popular products continue to include banners, window graphics, soft signage, point-of-purchase (POP) displays, flags and wall graphics. Areas of decline include pole signs and fine art reproductions.
One of the main barriers to growth identified by survey respondents is downward pressure on prices, which they are addressing by reducing operating costs and implementing ‘lean’ manufacturing and continuous improvement measures. Another challenge is finding new customers, which they are accomplishing mainly through websites, referrals and social media.
Overall, the survey results suggest the sign and graphics community is optimistic about its future, but will need to consider fabricating a broader variety of products, so as to compensate for the maturity of some current markets.