Sign Manufacturers

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 5,600 sign manufacturers in the US produce signs and displays (excluding paper and paperboard-based sign products) for commercial, institutional, and government use. Major revenue categories include non-electric signs and displays, electric signs and displays, and trade show exhibits. Other products and services include digital printing, commercial screen printing, and commercial lithographic printing. Firms may also generate revenue from installation, maintenance, and repair services.

Competition From Alternative Forms Of Advertising

Signs compete with alternative forms of advertising, such as television, print, direct mail, and digital media.

More Digital Displays

Improved image quality, the ability to offer dynamic content, and better durability is motivating customers to migrate to digital signage.

Industry size & Structure

The average sign manufacturer operates out of a single location, employs fewer than 10 workers, and generates $2.2 million in annual revenue.

    • The sign manufacturing industry consists of about 5,600 firms that employ 76,300 workers and generate about $12.3 billion annually.
    • The industry is fragmented; the top 50 companies account for 33% of industry revenue.
    • The industry includes national firms, regional firms, franchises, and independent operators.
    • Large companies include Daktronics, Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO), and Fastsigns.
    • Large firms may have operations in foreign markets. Subcontracting to sign manufacturers outside of local markets allows small firms to serve remote customers.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Sign Manufacturers Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Recent Developments

                                  Feb 1, 2024 - Sign Manufacturing Wage Growth Outpaces Pricing
                                  • In Q4 2023, producer prices charged by sign manufacturers were up moderately compared to a year earlier. However, sign manufacturing wages in Q4 grew at nearly twice the rate of pricing, perhaps signaling that firms’ margins could be squeezed by rising labor costs. Employment growth in the sign manufacturing industry decreased slightly in Q4, year-over-year.
                                  • Sign manufacturers could see a downturn if the economy weakens and small businesses reduce marketing budgets and/or capital spending. In the fourth quarter, nearly two-thirds of small businesses surveyed said their Q4 2023 revenue was less than what they earned in Q4 2022, and 47% said revenues were down by half or less than half of what they were in Q4 2022, according to Alignable, a social media outlet for small business owners. Alignable noted that the fourth quarter of 2022 was not an especially prosperous period for small businesses, highlighting the significance of the Q4 2023 decline. Among specific industries, at 65%, real estate firms were the most likely to report a year-over-year drop in revenue in Q4 2023, followed by construction (63%), restaurants (63%), gyms (60%), travel and lodging (60%), and automotive (58%).
                                  • The rate of US business applications, a key demand indicator for sign manufacturers, fell 1.3% in December 2023 compared to the prior month, according to the US Census Bureau. With a rise in business applications of 9.2%, the West was the only region that posted growth in December. Business applications fell 4.7% in the Midwest, 4.6% in the South, and 4% in the Northeast. Of the 20 major industry sectors tracked by the Census Bureau, eleven notched growth in October, led by mining (+125.6%), manufacturing (+46.8%), wholesale trade (+9.5%), and construction (+5.7%). Industries that experienced the largest drops in December business applications included utilities (-15.2%), retail trade (-12.5%), agriculture (-10%), and information (-3.6%).
                                  • US net media owner advertising revenues rose in the third quarter of 2023, marking two consecutive quarters of growth, according to a December forecast by advertising firm MAGNA. Ad sales rose 5.2% in Q3 compared to the same period in 2022. However, the Q3 2023 growth was due to pure-play digital (search, social, short-form video), which grew 12%. MAGNA updated its 2024 ad spending outlook to 8.4% growth from an earlier forecast of 8%. Out-of-home (OOH) ad spending, which includes signage, is forecast to rise 4.5% in 2024 over 2023. Ad spending growth in 2024 will be driven by improving economic conditions, lower inflation, and the return of cyclical events, including elections and international sporting events.
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