As technology becomes more affordable and available, a growing number of businesses is investing in digital advertising and displays. From electronic billboards and signage to social media ads, the trends are changing how graphics manufacturers run their businesses.
According to a recent survey by Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), the growth of digital displays is outpacing the growth of traditional printed graphics, wraps and signage. The 2019 report, based on the responses of 121 graphic and sign companies, shows digital displays are still very new to the industry, with only 25% of respondents providing them. However, 21% indicated that they would like to add digital displays, making them the most highly desired service to add to their offerings. The second most desired service was wall/architectural/building graphics at 9.6%.
This increased desire to add digital displays to a shop’s offerings is driven by growing demand for them. The report shows 77% growth in digital displays, compared to 67% growth in wall/architectural/building graphics and 54% growth in vehicle wraps/vehicle graphics.
So, what do these trends mean for graphics manufacturers? How are they adapting? We asked Mary McCahey, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, for The Vomela Companies, to weigh in.
A: We noticed billboards shifting about eight years ago. While sporadic, it seemed to be increasing over the years. We also noticed it in the QSR/Fast Casual space about six years ago when several clients were looking at changing their menu boards and converting interior menu boards and drive-thrus. This is a slow process due to costs.
A: Although the increase in digital communications has taken away some print business in the QSR/Fast Casual space, it has really just changed what we’re doing for our retail customers. We’re doing more experiential displays; we’re doing more interactive displays and we’re integrating technology with our displays. And, because our customers still buy print and graphic solutions to promote their brands, things like color and material quality are extremely important to them. We’ve also seen a nice increase in direct mail because consumers still like to touch, feel and review printed items. It breaks through the clutter of emails.
A: One of the main benefits of digital is that it’s fast and easy to change your message. Since we do have many customers whose signage/graphics plans do not include digital, we’re designing and producing fixtures and graphics that are easy, fast and safe for in-store employees to change and/or update.
All our clients are looking for ways to enhance the in-store customer experience. So another way we’re adapting is presenting and executing solutions where traditional graphics/print enhance digital to either create some sort of interactive experience or customer engagement opportunity. Technology (apps) is now a key feature in a lot of our work.
A: While we anticipate digital marketing and social media budgets for our customers to grow, we’re also seeing a shift in our retail business that’s going back to focusing on in-store shopper experiences. Some retailers are adding locations because brick & mortar is still a very popular way for consumers to engage with brands.
Thanks to The Vomela Companies for providing these answers. With change comes new opportunities. With an open and innovative mind, graphic manufacturers can continue to support their customers in new and unique ways.
While investments in digital advertising and displays are growing, Mary McCahey of The Vomela Companies said that her company still has many customers whose signage/graphics plans do not include digital. For those customers, Vomela is designing and producing more fixtures and graphics that are easy, fast and safe for in-store employees to change and/or update.
And for those businesses still buying print and graphic solutions to promote their brands, things like color and material quality are extremely important, as is enhancing the in-store customer experience.