Page 12 - Print21 Magazine Jan-Feb 21
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                Wide Format
      Wide format
format printers working in these areas saw their sales drop form 100 per cent to zero virtually overnight.
But on the other hand, Kraszewski points out, “Signage for information and directional messaging – such as social distancing, one-way systems, sign-in processes – has skyrocketed.”
The world’s biggest print market research agency Smithers gives an unequivocal yes in answer to the question of whether demand for wide format print will continue
to grow. It cites five main reasons why the wide format market will continue to increase.
First, it says promotional and informational printed signage demand will be impacted by changes in global and local economic performance, which will continue to grow post-Covid.
Second, it says increasing competition for brick-and-mortar stores from online retailers has resulted in the traditional retail model changing to compete in the new shopping landscape, with more in–store promos.
Third is the globalisation of brand identities. A prominent brand identity can open up new markets and be used to promote new product variants
that are tailored to local preferences. Signage is an effective method of
  – opportunity continues
Digital wide format printing has been seen as a major additional revenue stream for commercial and franchise printers, but with every man and his dog having a wide format printer, is that still the case? Print21 investigates.
For print business owners, adding a wide format print system to their armoury has been touted as a no-brainer once the leap
over the “I’m not a sign and display printer” banner has been made. It
is promoted as a no-brainer because the market is growing, and printers already have the file management skills, the workflow skills, the colour management skills, and crucially, the customers – many existing customers will also be in the market for wide format print.
And with wide format print systems with a decent rip starting from $20,000, the investment level, certainly compared to offset presses, is not daunting. So for a small investment, printers have been able
to add a decent margin product to their portfolio, and many of them have been able to grow that part
of the business well, moving into multiple systems, and flatbed, and the high-end roll-to-roll machines.
However, the wide format boom has been running for several years now, prices that you can achieve
for posters and banners have come down, and customers have lots of options. So, is it still a sector that offers opportunity for new entrants?
And as Henryk Kraszewski
at Ricoh says, “Covid has had a major impact on printing with
key industries such as events, exhibitions, entertainment, travel, hospitality and retail significantly driving down demand for wide- format printing.” In fact, some wide
Wide format printing: Opportunities and demand growing
Outdoor media: Compelling
   12   Print21 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

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