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Navigating the Wide-Format Sea

(October 2009) posted on Wed Oct 28, 2009

Five industry experts scope out the year ahead.

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Dan Marx, SGIA: I’ve seen cautious optimism among print providers, and most agree we’ve passed the worst of the current downturn. There has, however, been a weeding out: Some companies have been acquired, others have disappeared. Most companies, however, are busy enough to report at least modest growth. In fact, our own Financial Outlook Survey, conducted earlier this year, showed overall optimism from positive growth. Reason to be optimistic? Sure. Evidence that it’s all uphill from here? No.

Tim Greene, InfoTrends: Different parts of the worldwide wide-format market are moving at different rates. Our data suggests that we are looking for the rest of ’09 and 2010 as the runways for recovery. We think by 2011 we might be back at the first half of 2008 business levels. Some of our recent buyer data supports the idea of a recovery in the US during the next nine months, while some of our data from Europe and the rest of the world indicates that the second half of 2010 will be the timeframe for their recovery.

Adam Florek, Lyra: A consensus is forming among economists that economic growth will return in the second half of 2009. During the period of negative economic growth, however, print service providers were absolutely battered. Sadly, no single type of shop has managed to escape the epic downturn that our market has seen. Revenue declines of 30 to 40 percent have been the norm so far this year. Compared to the hideous numbers we’ve seen in 2009, there should be some kind of rebound in 2010.

Patti Williams, I.T. Strategies: Our 2009 Wide-Format Graphics Forecast shows that 2008 actual revenues were down 10 percent [while] 2009 revenues have declined a further 11 percent compared to 2008. The industry will see a three-year recession of its own, with 2008 revenue levels not regained by the market until late 2011, although revenue for all wide-format sectors will climb 1 percent by 2012.