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Day One: Charting Wide-Format Printing’s Course

(October 2011) posted on Wed Oct 05, 2011

14 days of critical information to prepare your business for 2012.

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The Big Picture has assembled five of the marketplace’s most informed analysts and consultants and asked them to help you evaluate the wide-format industry. Each day over the next two weeks, we’ll post a new, critical question from The Big Picture with invaluable answers from our panel – all designed to help you ensure that your company charts its best course for a prosperous year ahead.

Our 2011 panel participants include: Marco Boer, consulting partner, I.T. Strategies (; Tim Greene, director, visual communication technologies consulting service, InfoTrends (; Dan Marx, vice president, markets & technologies, SGIA (; Peter Mayhew, director, Lyra Research Europe (; and Art Wynne, president, Business Equipment Research and Test Laboratories (BERTL,

BPIC: The economy continues to be sluggish and challenging for most print providers. But some shops have found interesting ways to prosper. What’s the rest of 2011 look like? And what about 2012?

Tim Greene, InfoTrends: The biggest challenge for all of us is the lack of any visibility into the market. We’ve recently been collecting print-buyer inputs on this, and what we’ve found is that most print buyers expect to spend the same amount over the next 12 months as they did over the last 12 months – which isn’t great news but at least it’s a stable environment. On the other hand, nearly 10 times as many people are telling us they expect their expenditures to grow vs. decline over the next 12 months compared to the last 12 months. So there’s reason for optimism. But the overall economic outlook is so uncertain that it’s very difficult to see any dynamic growth in the North American market right now.

Dan Marx, SGIA: We hear mixed reports from our members. Some report being “crazy busy,” while others complain of slow times. There certainly is work to be had out there, but success is not assured, especially for mid-size print shops that have to compete with larger companies. That said, our recent surveys have shown much more optimism than pessimism, and a hopeful outlook into 2012 and beyond.