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Industry Roundtable: The Wide-Format Forecast

(October 2010) posted on Thu Oct 14, 2010

Taking stock of 2010, and preparing your business for 2011 and beyond.


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Frazer Chesterman, FESPA: In our third Economy Survey, we found that
two thirds of the respondents have innovated processes or products to address the downturn. Their innovation has taken the form of changing processes such as sales and marketing strategies – which a third have done – and entering new business niches – which more than half have done. We also discovered that 57 percent of respondents think that the recession is now over, 10 percent believe the market has recovered, and 28 percent believe that recovery will come later this year. Only five percent of those we spoke to thought that the recession would continue beyond 2011. And in our recent World Wide Survey in partnership with InfoTrends, we established that two thirds of the respondents were looking for new market opportunities to try to return their businesses to growth. We are broadly optimistic that the fortunes of the printing industry have reached a turning point.

Marco Boer, I.T. Strategies: Ninety percent of challenges stem from the economic recession. The other 10 percent of challenges stem from requirements – both competitive and regulatory – to be more environmentally friendly. There is a habit change required in the practices the industry uses, from reducing substrate waste to proper recycling. If the industry doesn’t take a lead in becoming more efficient in the entire life-cycle chain of wide-format print, it may someday wake up to find itself marginalized and supplanted by other advertising/communication means.

In 12 months, the wide-format world will be at a level of status quo20 where we’ll have all adjusted to the “new normal” state of the market. The industry will be full of renewed optimism and innovation will reign.

Question: Are there specific strategies that successful shops are taking to better their bottom lines vs. their less-successful peers?

Answers

Mayhew: The more successful busi¬nesses are taking full advantage of their capital equipment and resources. Previously, many niche products and services were overlooked – now, they’re seen as high-value, high-margin op¬portunities, and marketed accordingly.


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