Trends and Conditions in the Wide-Format Sector
Earlier this year, SGIA conducted its annual Industry Benchmarking Survey. The information here provides a brief preview of the survey findings, specifically as they relate to 201 companies serving the wide-format digital printing segment. SGIA’s full industry reports based on the results will be published by year’s end, and they will be available at SGIA.org.
While a strong majority of companies serving the wide-format sector serve other businesses as well, the number of those that identify primarily as business-to-consumer is on the rise (23.4% in 2018 versus 14.8% in 2017). Geographic areas served by companies in this segment are local (65.3%), regional (58.7%) and national (58.2%), but nearly 25% serve international clients. Staffs are small, with the median number of employees at just 12, and the median sales revenue is $1,850,000.
Companies are divided evenly between those that rely entirely on digital equipment (50.9%) and those that use it and other technologies as part of a multi-technological approach (49.0%). Almost all of the respondents have wide-format inkjet (89.6%) printers, and roughly one-third also use either dye sublimation (31.3%), screen printing (29.9%) or dry toner (29.9%) equipment. At least nine out of 10 companies (90.6%) offer finishing/post-production services.
The exchange of finishing services between printers happens more frequently on the production level, with 65.4% providing and 73.0% purchasing. At least half of respondents provide (52.8%) or purchase (55.3%) post-print services. This exchange of services allows companies to use production facilities more efficiently. Lamination (91.9%), installation (80.6%), grommeting (77.4%) and mounting (75.8%) continue to be the most frequently provided finishing services.
Equipment Use & Purchases
Among roll-to-roll inkjet systems, 36"- to 96"-wide systems with solvent (48.8%) or latex (38.0%) inks are used the most, with latex being the most frequently bought during the current year (12.4%) and one of the most desirable for the future (5.4%). Dye-sublimation (6.2%) and UV-curable roll-to-roll (more than 96") are also highly sought. Hybrid and flatbed inkjet systems also factor into current and future purchase plans.
The most frequently used finishing equipment is lamination/mounting (74.1%), cutting/trimming/routing/diecutting (72.7%) and grommeting (70.6%). Cutting equipment was also the most frequently bought during 2018 (13.3%) and the most desired for the future (11.9%).