Outlook continues to improve for sign industry: ISA Report

The International Sign Association (ISA – Alexandria, Virginia) has reported that analysts have revised the U. S. economic outlook even higher than previously thought, thanks to a stronger than expected economic rebound. However, the industry organization also pointed out that commodity prices and supply shortages pose a threat to the expected growth, according to the Sign Industry Quarterly Economic Report produced by IHS Markit for the International Sign Association. The report covers the second quarter of 2021 and was prepared in June. It was sponsored by the National Association of Sign Supply Distributors (NASSD). The report assesses four segments of the industry: two supplier markets (printing and electrical/digital signage) and two end markets (electric/digital signage and architectural signage). It also forecasts commodities.

Highlights include:

• The four market segments all show improving outlooks for 2021, with 2022 a year of continued recovery, IHS said. Strong consumer demand will continue to drive supply side and end market electric/digital signage into 2022.

• IHS Markit has increased its forecast for global GDP growth in 2021 and 2022. GDP is expected to grow 7.4 percent in 2021 and 4.8 percent in 2022.

• Commodity prices are starting to moderate. Steel production is alleviating the supply shortages, which will cause prices to fall during the second half of 2021. The exception is the United States, where steel capacity is idle, and imports are suppressed by logistics problems.

• In 2022, both sides of the electric digital signage market—supply and end market—show an improved forecast as input prices return to normal levels and consumer demand remains strong.

• Architectural signage end market is again the weakest segment, though IHS revised its forecast upward in 2021. It is expected to decline in 2022 and 2023, however.

• The supply side printing market is vulnerable to labour and raw material issues. Analysts expect those to lessen over the next six months and output will grow rapidly. If cursed by further disruptions, the potential will be far harder to achieve or will be partly deferred into 2022.

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