Billboard & Sign Manufacturing in the US Industry Market Research Report Now Available from IBISWorld

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While online advertising has cut into industry profit somewhat, billboards and outdoor signage remain one of the best ways to reach mass markets. The previous five-year period led to losses for industry players because downstream markets reduced demand for billboards and signs. Nevertheless, over the five years to 2017, revenue will grow as clients dedicate an increased amount of corporate profit toward advertising, corporate rebranding and new signage. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated its report on the Billboard & Sign Manufacturing industry.

IBISWorld Market Research

IBISWorld Market Research

Demand for digital billboards and displays will facilitate a modest recovery in revenue.

After six years of steady growth, the light went out on the Billboard and Sign Manufacturing industry in 2008 and 2009. According to IBISWorld industry analyst Austen Sherman, “Billboard and outdoor display advertisers curtailed spending on the industry's services as total advertising expenditures dried up amid falling corporate profit.” Other customers, including fast food restaurants and retail stores, also spent less on displays and signage as revenue fell. In the five years to 2012, industry revenue is expected to decline at an average of 1.9% annually to $12.8 billion.

Industry revenue peaked in 2007 at $14.1 billion and declined from 2008 to 2010, including a 10.4% dip in 2009. “The declines largely occurred when the industry's key buying industries dramatically slowed purchases,” says Sherman. As demand slowed and profit fell, operators in the Billboard and Sign Manufacturing industry cut costs aggressively. Some firms even closed their doors due to the poor operating environment. IBISWorld estimates that several hundred billboard and sign manufacturers closed in 2009 alone. In the five years to 2012, the number of firms operating in the industry declined at an annualized rate of 1.7% to 5,736. Surviving companies adapted to the difficult times by slashing head counts, aggressively managing input costs, lowering prices or offering more high-margin digital products. As a result, industry profit margin has fallen during the past five years.

Market share concentration in the Billboard and Sign Manufacturing industry is low, with the four largest firms estimated to generate less than 9.0% of industry revenue in 2012. The cost of transporting heavy, bulky billboards, signage and advertising displays long distances prevents most industry operators from developing a national presence in the market. In general, this means that firms in the industry are locally or regionally based and must depend heavily on relationships with local customers. Consequently, intense local competition keeps most industry operators small. Furthermore, most work in this industry is labor intensive. This prevents companies from realizing significant savings from consolidating many manufacturing locations into one large location and instead contributes to keeping employee head count low at most companies.

The future looks brighter than the immediate past as consumer spending and confidence improve. Advertising budgets and the corporate profit that drives them have already started to recover, and outdoor advertising expenditure has started to rise. As a result, industry revenue is expected to increase 5.3% in 2012, building on growth in 2011. Revenue will grow as clients dedicate an increased amount of corporate profit toward advertising, corporate rebranding and new signage. This increase in total marketing expenditure is expected to cause industry revenue to increase in the five years to 2017. Additionally, advertisers will continue demanding more digital billboards and digital displays, a trend that began in the early 2000s that offers higher margins. Companies with robust digital product offerings will lead the industry's recovery as buyers remain entranced by digital products' clarity and ability to target specific demographics.

For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Billboard & Sign Manufacturing in the US industry report page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

This industry manufactures billboards, scoreboards, retail store signage, and transit station advertising displays. Products may include non-electric signs, digital billboards, video screens and neon signs. The industry does not include outdoor kiosks, phone booth advertising, bus or taxi advertising and other street furniture. It also does not include any advertising or displays made from printing paper or paperboard.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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