Industry Roundtable Day 8: Wallcoverings and Wide Format
14 days of critical information to prepare your shop for the year ahead.
Which technologies are on the upswing – and which are on the downswing? What markets and applications look to be hot next year? How much of a role will sustainability play in your company? Which profit centers should you invest in?
Get answers to these questions and many more, from six of the wide-format marketplace’s most informed analysts and consultants. Over the next couple of weeks, The Big Picture will post critical questions with invaluable answers from our panel – all designed to help you ensure that your company charts its best course for a prosperous year ahead.
Each day leading up to the SGIA Expo in Orlando, we’ll feature a round of questions and answers from our panel participants. For this year’s edition of our annual Industry Roundtable, our participants include:
• Lori Anderson, president and CEO, International Sign Association (ISA, www.signs.org);
• Marco Boer, vice president, I.T. Strategies (www.it-strategies.com);
• Tim Greene, director, wide format consulting service, InfoTrends (www.infotrends.com);
• Dan Marx, vice president, markets & technologies, Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA, www.sgia.org);
• Peter Mayhew, director, LightWords Ltd. (www.lightwords.co.uk); and
• John Zarwan, managing partner, J Zarwan Partners (www.johnzarwan.com).
Q: Can wide format play a significant role when it comes to wallcoverings? How can print service providers take advantage of this niche market?
Tim Greene: Absolutely, and it’s already doing so. There are numerous suppliers of wide-format digital printing that have entered the wallcovering market based on their ability to print these materials and leverage their relationships within the end-user markets. We know that some of the companies that make those wallcovering materials – like Monadnock Paper, which makes Envi Wall Graphics material – are seeing excellent growth in that market because their digitally printable wallcovering material has an adhesive that doesn’t ruin the wall behind it. As a guy that had to peel wallpaper off of some of the rooms in my first house, I know that has been one of the big drawbacks to using a wallcovering material in the past.
Dan Marx: I see strong opportunity in wallcoverings, and I think the interior-design opportunity for wide-format producers – something SGIA has been highlighting since 2004 – is finally beginning to move. In our recent 2013 Market Trends and Product Specialties Benchmarking Report, we found that 60 percent of companies are working with the interior design/decoration/architect market. Further, this was the market seen as growing the most. Much of this work related directly to printed wallcovering, and the ongoing move toward mass-customization makes this a strong opportunity.
Marco Boer: At a local, consumer-level, online digital wallcovering retail print shops and specialty, niche wide-format providers have filled a void. Few can survive just specializing in printing wallcoverings, but they do tend to become known as specialists over time in being able to reproduce antique wallcovering prints, etc. By the way, while technically often falling outside the definition of “wallcoverings,” large-scale murals used as backdrops in retail stores are now commonly printed on digital printers. Many of higher-end stores on Fifth Avenue in New York rotate their murals every quarter to tie-in with new product releases.
Peter Mayhew: It’s not a completely clean fit for wide format. You need to be cautious about the type of ink technology used, and it’s a different customer group. But, it’s an exciting market enjoying rapid growth. PSPs who offer unique or creative design that’s in tune with corporate and/or consumer interior décor fashion trends, leverage their existing Web-to-print capabilities and maybe offer installation services, should have no difficulties exploiting this market opportunity.
Did you miss Day 7 of our Industry Roundtable? Click here to see our experts’ take on wide-format and packaging.