The fourth instalment of The World Wide Survey. A fully comprehensive insight into print industry trends and market changes. The survey takes the measure of key developments within the wide format and digital printing market and compares these results to past versions of the The World Wide Survey to measure progress. The survey takes into account print volumes, marketing, technology and equipment, applications, media size and media mix, supplies spending and buyer trends.

Executive Summary

• World Wide Survey 4 respondents cut across the wide format industry and mirrors the overall structure of the industry, with a large number of small companies, and a good distribution among medium-sized, large and very large establishments.

• The fact that this industry is "bottom-heavy" has many important implications in regards to what types of equipment these companies can buy, where they source materials, and how they manage cash and inventory. Different sized PSPs handle these issues very differently. Recognition and adaptation to these differences will make sales and marketing efforts more successful.

• One of the key trends in the digital wide format market is that there is an ongoing convergence among historical printing segments, yet respondents tend to still think of their business based on its history.

• Respondents reported the highest levels of optimism for both their own business and for the wide format digital printing business in general since the inception of the World Wide Survey project began in 2007.

• InfoTrends believes this is a reflection of the fact that many PSPs had taken the strategic actions required to sustain their business through the economic downturn and even through periods of great uncertainty related to the global economy in the last 2000's. 75% of the respondents reported that they have made strategic adjustments to their business to offset business declines due to the overall economy over the last several years.

• Respondents expect wide format digital printing to grow as a percentage of their total revenue from 42% in 2013 to 54% in two years and almost 50% of respondents reported that they see digital printing as the key to future success in wide format.

• InfoTrends believes the survey results point to a new definition of what "going digital" should mean to printing organizations. Whereas once "going digital" meant using a digital printer to produce the same kind of graphics that were screen printed because there was a cost advantage for doing so, now we think it means that the company should develop its data-driven resources to help its clients achieve their goals for revenue generation, experiential marketing, or operational efficiencies.

• 51% of respondents reported they would make an investment in new hardware in the next 12 months. InfoTrends believes this finding has multiple implications, but the primary one is that shops recognize that new wide format production technology gives them the ability to be more competitive through greater speed, higher quality, and lower production cost

• The primary wide format applications have not really changed over the years, posters, signs, banners, and point-of-purchase (POP) graphics continue to be the primary applications that digital wide format printers produce.

• Wide format digital printing is still a growth market because it gets growth from two sources; from the conversion of analog printing to screen printing, and the organic growth within key wide format digital applications.

• InfoTrends has found that there are two important barriers to success in wide format digital printing for many PSPs. One is that they struggle to keep up with technology and how it can be used to grow their business, and the other is that they are unsure of the best ways to market and sell their services.

• There are several ways to approach marketing wide format print services, Outbound marketing, Inbound marketing, and Nurtured. Increasingly InfoTrends sees wide format PSPs using Inbound marketing, which includes relevant information and content targeted at the types of customers a PSP wants to attract. Marketing expenditures are typically less than 4% of a PSP's total sales.

• Ink jet printhead technology is very important to the buyer. 92% of respondents reported that the inkjet head is either "important" or "very important" to them when they are sourcing digital printing equipment.

• HP (58.9%) and Epson (54.2%) were the most often recognized print head brands among these respondents. This is not surprising given the massive installed base of aqueous inkjet printers from these two vendors. The Xaar brand was recognized at the third highest level (53.4%) which has to be considered an achievement given the company's independent status. In fact, among the group of PSP respondents that identify themselves as Digital Print Specialists and as Sign Shops, Xaar was the MOST recognized print head brand.

• Only 26% of the respondents reported that they are a member of a trade association now. 3/4ths of respondents are not members of a trade association which means there is an excellent opportunity for local industry associations to increase their membership by increasing the value that association membership provides.

• FESPA is already a vital source of information for many PSPs. 65% of respondents reported that they usually hear about new industry developments through attendance at FESPA exhibitions. This is higher even than Internet web sites (42%), equipment dealers (42%), or trade journals (39%).

• 83% of respondents reported they would like to receive more news and analysis from FESPA. InfoTrends believes that the development of web-based resources that are respectful of the time that shops invest would be an excellent way to deliver this sort of news and information.

FESPA's World Wide Survey 3, in partnership with InfoTrends is a detailed report highlighting the dynamics and trends within the wide format printing industry. The report was conducted by participants from over 30 different countries between February and March 2010.

The World Wide Survey Report is available to all FESPA Association Members free of charge in a number of different languages; alternatively if you are not a member of your local FESPA Association the report can be purchased for €2,000.

For more information contact your local FESPA Association or email info [AT] fespa [DOT] com.To download a copy of the executive summary please click here.