Smithers, the provider of testing, consulting, information, and compliance of Akron, Ohio, has projected a downturn in the global display graphics and signage market.

In their recent report, The Future of Printed Signage in a Digital World to 2028, they see 2023 declining by $5 billion from a pre-pandemic level of about $46 billion. They included in their study posters, banners, flags, backdrops, POS displays, billboards, decals, vehicle graphics, building wraps, corporate graphics, and trade show materials. So, pretty much the whole nine yards. And overall, they’re pessimistic about the outlook until 2028.

Forecasting is of course a subjective undertaking and longish-term forecasts (5 years and more) can be iffy at best. On the other hand, Smithers has a good reputation and therefor should be taken seriously. So, that said, it’s just another reason to seriously contemplate diversification. For the average small Canadian sign shop that may mean adding textiles, as traditional sign equipment manufacturers such as Roland have been suggesting for some time. But, be warned, while you may find a niche in your market, generally the textile imprint market is highly competitive in most places.

What all this means for your shop is that diversification may be wise or even a necessity, but what you diversify into may not be immediately obvious. Bottom line? You have homework to do.