Editorial: All Signage Points to Growth

(Image credit: SCN)

As we focus on digital signage in SCN this month, it's a good time to take stock of the business. But before we dive into the numbers, it's important to note that this technology has, or at least should have, its limits. Personally, I draw the line at public restrooms.

Digital Signage Issue Logo

(Image credit: Future)

During my travels, I have found a digital signage survey in the doorways of restrooms at two New York airports (and I'm sure you can find them elsewhere). Once you’ve completed whatever tasks you deem necessary in the restroom, the airport folks would like your feedback about said restroom.

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Rather than have someone hanging out by the doorway with a clipboard and a sunny disposition, which would be creepy, they’d like you to touch a smiley face or frowny face on what looks like a small, wall-mounted digital tablet that's equipped with a camera, which might actually be more creepy.

The survey appliance does feature an anti-bacterial screen, so bully for taking that extra step. But I don’t want to interact with restroom digital signage, no matter how clean the facilities or how much you promise your screen doesn't have germs. Yes, I'm a strong advocate of the Pro AV industry, but I’ve seen way too much in public restrooms.

Restroom Digital Signage

Digital signage surveys in a public restroom? No. Just no. (Image credit: Mark J. Pescatore)

As we widen our focus beyond the water closet, the general consensus is that the digital signage global market will remain a growth area for the Pro AV industry for some time. Appraisals vary between market research organizations, but some of the most recent estimates come from AVIXA’s 2022 Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis (IOTA), which assigned digital signage an estimated value of $34.2 billion this year. That number is expected to grow to $46.5 billion in 2027.

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Sean Wargo, vice president of market intelligence for AVIXA, said digital signage’s estimated 6.3% growth is ahead of the AV industry’s 5.9% overall average. The strongest area for digital signage growth is venues and events. In fact, digital signage is not the only Pro AV product sector benefitting from that market. It’s largely a recovery story, Wargo explained, as people have returned to live events in full force.

While live events may be the rising star, two other markets will continue to drive digital signage: retail and hospitality. Both sectors are dependent on consumer spending, which could cause more expansion than expected in North America.

Wargo noted that early 2022 holiday results indicated a resurgence in brick-and-mortar shopping. The trend was confirmed by the National Retail Federation (NRF): Retail sales cashed in at $936.3 billion over the November-December holiday season. While the number fell short of the NRF forecast, it was a 5.3% increase over 2021, with year-over-year gains in seven of nine retail categories.

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AVIXA predicts 6.5% digital signage growth in retail, as stores work to make shopping more experiential. “As retailers try to find ways to differentiate themselves,” Wargo noted, “that translates to a net positive for our industry.”

As travel increased, hospitality had a significant recovery in 2022, but Wargo said businesses were cautious about too much investment in improvements like digital signage. With travel continuing to be strong, he expects to see the market add more digital signage installs throughout 2023. Here's hoping the vast majority of those projects do not involve the restroom.

Mark J. Pescatore
Content Director

Mark J. Pescatore, Ph.D., is the content director of Systems Contractor News. He has been writing about Pro AV industry for more than 25 years. Previously, he spent more than eight years as the editor of Government Video magazine. During his career, he's produced and hosted two podcasts focused on the professional video marketplace, taught more than a dozen college communication courses, co-authored the book Working with HDV, and co-edited two editions of The Guide to Digital Television.