Three Major Wide-format Trends to Watch in 2020

Three Major Wide-format Trends to Watch in 2020

If you’ve been in wide format printing for a while, or even if you’re new here, you’ve probably noticed that things move pretty quickly in this space, from customer expectations to equipment upgrades to new material launches. These changes, upgrades, and improvements are never-ending, so here’s a quick list of what we see as the hot topics to watch as 2020 gets started:

 

Strategic Convergence: At Printing United, one of the largest industry tradeshows in the United States, there was a wave of chatter about diversifying and jumping into different segments to stay relevant in segments like sign & graphic, apparel or packaging. Sales and profitability increased the most in 2018 for sign & graphics producers, according to NAPCO Research and SGIA. But when diversifying, businesses may have growing pains from adding staff or lacking focus. Working with a good partner who supplies material as well as education and business consultation is key to helping you make the best decisions of material inventory, equipment upgrades, and workflow efficiencies. Get a handle on these issues, and your team can converge strategically.

 

Environmental Responsibility: If there’s one topic on everyone’s tongues, it’s sustainability. At Printing United, many customers were only interested in eco-friendly material options. There’s a generational divide to keep in mind: While Baby Boomer customers tend to embrace brand loyalty, Millennials and younger are willing to pay more for products made with sustainability in mind. This is true in the consumer world, and growing increasingly true in the business decisions they make. Our industry is working hard to find ways to make materials from recycled or reclaimed items, like plastic water bottles, and, in turn, ways for those products to be recycled or reused to create a circular economy that the print world hasn’t seen previously. Stay tuned for product releases that are better for the earth so you can plan to market them to the customers who are the most receptive to them.

 

Increased Competition: This isn’t competition from the sign shop down the street. It’s competition from your own customers, who now have access to lower-priced, entry-level printing equipment that’s allowing them to do their own in-house printing — like retail outlets, schools and more. Combat this by excelling in areas they can’t, such as more complex decor applications that require more intense setup and installation; investment in new technology or offer customization in printing with software that allows your team to use variable data to create unique prints. Impress your customers with your experience, craftsmanship, and innovation, and they won’t want to do it without you.