White Paper: Print vs. Electronic Media – 5 key threats and opportunities for printed signage

This new white paper from Smithers Pira seeks to explore key opportunities and threats posed to the printed signage market by digital display media.

Brands are changing the way they promote themselves and are exploring a wider range of options as a result of developments in digital communications. Advertisers are consistently finding new ways to expand their reach, most recently with the growth in mobile and tablet devices. Print vs digital media is a key battleground, and traditional advertising has already been affected by the rise of digital. Screen-based technologies are gaining ground in outdoor locations but prospects for in-store digital media are less clear.

Global output of printed PoS/signage amounted to 12.8 billion m² in 2014. Output is expected to increase by around 0.8% annually in period to 2020 with growth concentrated in indoor applications. Outdoor printed output is declining, impacted by the growing digital market. In the case of some product types like billboards there is very significant potential for replacement by digital screens in the future. Although the impact is mostly seen outdoors, indoor digital signage is becoming increasingly used for wayfinding needs and providing information. The interactive and data collection capabilities of digital signage are becoming ever more desirable and are something that printed media cannot easily replicate. However, digital media can also be used in conjunction with print and as a complementary feature. Event graphics and point of purchase (PoP) materials are two examples where digital screens are being integrated with printed displays.

Five key opportunities and threats to the printed signage market are:

  • Outdoor threat – a digital growth area
  • Indoor and outdoor – a double threat
  • Widespread use of interactive capabilities (opportunity and threat)
  • Focus on big data and analytics (opportunity and threat)
  • Print and digital integration (opportunity)