U.S. Sign Industry Recovering Confidence

The U.S. sign industry is coming back from its economic doldrums, according to the latest business confidence index report from the Sign Analytics research program co-sponsored by Sign & Digital Graphics, and The Visual Information Group LLC, of Cincinnati, Ohio.

The research collaboration, now beginning its third year, measures business confidence among U.S. sign companies twice-yearly. The business confidence index shown in the two accompanying charts (see Business Confidence Index, and Business Confidence Index by Segment) is based on surveys completed by more than 600 sign companies in January.

“We are right back where we started in June 2008 with our first survey,” says Mary Tohill, publisher of Sign & Digital Graphics. “With all that has happened with the economy, it’s exciting to see our sign companies regaining confidence in their outlook. Everyone profits from these improved index numbers.”

The January survey asked sign companies to look ahead to the first six months of 2010, comparing their expectations of sales then with 2009 year-end. Available replies were: Much Better, Better, About the Same, Worse, and Much Worse. More than 45 percent of respondents said they expected business conditions to be either Better or Much Better. Only 17.5 percent of respondents expected business conditions in six months to be Worse, or Much Worse.

By contrast, the Sign Analytics survey results from a year earlier (January 2009)—when the full brunt of the economic downturn was in evidence—show marked differences. At that time only 29.5% of respondents expected Better, or Much Better, business conditions while 38.7 percent expected conditions to be either Worse or Much Worse.

“These results represent great news not just for sign companies but for the manufacturers and distributors that support them, says David Williamson, principal of The Visual Information Group LLC. “While the 2009 market sizing data that we will be releasing is troubling due to the economy, 2010 appears to be starting with increased confidence among all of our sign industry segments.”

Because the exact same questions have been asked in each of the four Sign Analytics surveys, research results can be expressed as an index number. The numerical averages of replies from the June 2008 are expressed as a base of 100. An index number below 100 would indicate a worsening of business confidence, while any number above 100 would indicate improved confidence relative to the June 2008 timeframe.

The April 2010 issue of Sign & Digital Graphics will contain a full summary of the U.S. Sign Industry Business Confidence Index, plus data from The Visual Information Group for 2009 sign industry market sizing, shop population and segment composition. For more information contact Mary Tohill, Sign & Digital Graphics, 1-800-669-0424 or David Williamson, The Visual Information Group, 1-513-762-7698.

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