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Graphics Producers Show Strength in 2012

Dan Marx, VP - Markets & Technologies, SGIA

According to SGIA's just released Third Quarter 2012 Industry Pulse Benchmarking Report, graphics and sign businesses in the United States are operating on firm ground after a rather soft second quarter of this year. Sales and production indexes -- established earlier this year by SGIA -- have remained both steady and strong throughout the year. Employment, while soft, had its strongest showing of the year during the third quarter. Purchases lagged slightly. While confidence in this segment is positive, it is tempered by continued uncertainty about the US economy. However, confidence has improved significantly over second quarter.

The SGIA report further divides the sign and graphics segment into five categories based on annual revenue. In all categories except one (employment), the largest companies in this segment-those with annual revenue in excess of $10 million-had the highest index numbers, representing undeniable strength within this category. The industry's smallest companies-those with annual revenue less than $250,000-had the weakest showing.

The information presented here represents good news for the wide- format graphics industry. While much of the traditional printing industry is currently struggling to end the year with positive growth, companies in the graphics and sign industry expect to end 2012 with growth of more than ten percent. But all the opportunity in the sign and graphics industry must be tempered by reality. The specialty graphics industry, while robust in opportunity and highly diverse, is also highly competitive. Most markets, products and niches are well-established, and major players are in place, often both at the national and local levels.

Companies just now jumping into wide-format must understand that while the technology and its end points may be new to them, other producers have been at work in wide-format graphics for more than fifteen years. Truly, the strongest opportunities for those entering wide-format graphics will go to those companies that do their research, go into it with a solid plan, and that possess strong knowledge of imaging and finishing systems and the myriad materials used today.

As the organization representing the specialty graphics industry, SGIA collects and analyzes a broad range of data about this segment. Full Benchmarking Reports are available free to SGIA members. To access SGIA's Benchmarking Reports, or to learn more about SGIA's industry data collection efforts, visit this link.

HillmanDan Marx is the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association's Vice President-Markets & Technologies. With SGIA, he works to raise awareness of the specialty graphics industry, and helps printers and their customers identify and adopt new technologies and access lucrative market areas. In his more than 20 years at SGIA, he has authored numerous articles for industry publications worldwide, presented at a variety of industry events, and served as an enthusiastic ambassador for innovative imaging technologies. He can be reached at dan@sgia.org.

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