Wide-format Trends: A Wide-open Opportunity

The majority of respondents expect to break even on their wide-format printer investment in less than a year.

An equal number of respondents expected to buy a solvent inkjet wide-format printer as those who expected to buy a UV-curable inkjet rolled wide-format printer.

Respondents who are in the wide-format business expected that business to increase 13.9 percent in the next 12 months.

In addition, it is very likely that a company which buys that type of solution will need additional finishing equipment, such as a cutting table and/or liquid laminator, and would need to have personnel trained to run it, as well as the space to put the equipment and materials for it in their facility. To deliver a six- to 12-month ROI when the capital expenditure is that high, a company must execute a well thought-out plan for wide-format digital printing services.

With football season now in full swing, the one thing that good coaches and teams do is self-scouting; asking “What are we good at? Where are we weak? What can we do that will help us win against this team?” InfoTrends believes this kind of self-analysis is critical in developing a good operational plan in the wide-format business, as well—especially as print service providers look at their target customers.

It is important for those developing the plan to remember that their customers are not in the printing business. In fact, our research indicates that most wide-format print customers really do not care which technologies are used to produce their signage and graphics; they care about the quality, the price and whether or not that piece communicates the messages they need to communicate.

As such, we find that many buyers of wide-format signage and graphics are increasingly using interactive media elements in their signage and graphics to elevate the messaging and try to develop some type of measurability on their marketing expenditures. The companies that are most profitable in wide-format are the ones that do not sell transactions, but rather services illustrating ways they can help their customers do more.

While there are similarities that are driving that analog to digital shift, the fact is that there are distinct differences between wide-format and other types of printing. Previous InfoTrends research completed this year indicates that up to 60 percent of wide-format digital print jobs need to be fulfilled within 48 hours from the time the order is placed. This fact alone means that wide-format print service providers have to be able to produce, as well as kit and ship, at a very rapid pace.

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