Thursday, 04 October 2018 18:56

Economic Report Forecasts Strong '18 and '19

The sign, graphics and visual communications industry is enjoying a strong 2018, thanks to an easing of uncertainty surrounding commodity prices and stronger U.S. economy. The stronger economy will continue to push the industry forward in 2019, according to the ISA Sign Industry Quarterly Report for the third quarter of 2018.

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/wayfinding signage). It also forecasts commodities. The Sign Industry Economic Report, prepared in September, is sponsored by the National Association of Sign Supply Distributors (NASSD).

The report, compiled by IHS and Vandiver Associates, analyzes each segment of the market upstream and downstream to allow users to stay current with evolving business conditions.

Some highlights:

  • U.S. gross domestic product topped 4.2 percent in the second quarter and is expected to remain near a 3.0 percent average over the second half of this year. Globally, economic growth is slowing, down from 3.7 percent last year to 3.2 percent this year. It is expected to drop to 2.9 percent by 2020. The Eurozone growth is moderating, with uncertainties caused by higher oil prices, political changes in Italy and Spain, and a financial crisis in Turkey. UK growth is slowed by Brexit-related uncertainty.
  • Steel prices are starting to ease. Even with the 25 percent tariff, imports remain cheaper. Steel from South Korea and Brazil is subject to quotas.
  • A 40 percent year-on-year increase in pulp prices, along with antidumping duties on newsprint from Canada, continues to add pressure to prices. With lumber, expectations are for prices to continue to drop well into 2019.
  • For supply side printing, the outlook remains solid, despite a slight weakening due to rising commodity prices. Supply side electrical/digital also remains up well into 2019 due to more spending on intellectual property products.
  • In end markets, electrical/digital continues to show strength through 2019. New data in architectural/wayfinding points to a stronger-than-expected year in 2018 with a more robust year in 2019.


Those interested in learning more about the ISA Sign Industry Quarterly Economic Report and the outlook for the rest of 2018 and 2019 can participate in a free webinar hosted by ISA at 2 pm ET on October 30. Register at signs.org/webinars. The webinar is free for ISA, ISA Affiliated Association or NASSD members, or $100 for non-members.

The ISA Sign Industry Quarterly Economic Report is free for ISA, ISA Affiliated Association and NASSD members. Non-members may purchase it for $1,000 per quarterly forecast. This research can be accessed at signs.org/quarterlyreport.