The findings of FESPA's Print Census tell us what is happening in the sector now, and provide a clear statistical picture of short to medium-term developments.
But one of the six overarching trends to emerge from the research gives a vision of the future which understandably provokes a mix of fear and fascination – the growth of digital (electronic) display technology.
While our Print Census shows that there is a clear trend towards more bespoke print applications, the truth remains that the wide format print sector today is still heavily dominated by conventional sign and display applications such as banners, point of sale graphics, posters, signs and billboards.
No surprise then that digital display technology is provocative, and this latest survey highlights that respondents globally are already experiencing or anticipate a marked impact on their business from this emergent technology. More than three quarters of respondents expect live media and LCD screen advertising to impact the wide format business in the foreseeable future, while more than a third told us that these technologies are already impacting their business.
The emotional reaction to this ranges across a spectrum stretching from ‘worrying threat’ to ‘exciting opportunity’. Gratifyingly, a third of those surveyed across five continents told us that they plan to offer digital signage solutions to their customer base in the next 12 months, so printers are meeting the challenger head-on.
It’s not clear whether that means that printers see themselves extending their own service offering, or partnering with other solution providers to be able to collaborate on customer briefs that integrate print with digital display. Either way, an encouraging proportion of our community are seizing the opportunity.
Here at FESPA we’ve been conscious of the inroads being made by digital (electronic) display for some time, and it was one of the strategic factors behind our decision to launch European Sign Expo, with its focus on non-printed signage, including all forms of illuminated display.
The signage content programme at our events covers many aspects of digital display, and we’re committed to helping our print community understand and embrace every opportunity to grow and reshape their product offering to be relevant and effective in a new hybrid environment for visual communication.
As we’ve seen in the production arena, digital technology has not eclipsed established processes, but is working hand in hand with analogue to meet different needs. Likewise, the reality is that printed and electronic displays are likely to be mixed to deliver maximum impact and functionality. The wisest printers will be ready – with our support - to advise customers on how to blend both solutions to achieve their objectives.
Click here to see and share the FESPA Print Census #SixTrends Infographic.
The FESPA Print Census is a global research project undertaken by FESPA in partnership with Infotrends to understand developments in the wide format, screen and digital print community. The Print Census was funded through FESPA’s Profit for Purpose programme, which reinvests revenues from FESPA’s global events to support printers worldwide with insights, best practice and networking opportunities.
The Census was conducted from May 2014 to April 2015, and surveyed over 1200 respondents in 64 countries, both face-to-face and online. FESPA is sharing the salient trends from the Print Census openly, but the detailed 39-page FESPA Census report is a member-only publication. To receive a copy, you need to be a member of your national FESPA Association. Click here to find out how.