The need for more digital signage in public spaces and installations as well the declining prices of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels will help fuel the worldwide signage and professional display market, with growth in 2012 set to rise a healthy 12.6 percent from year-ago levels, according to an IHS iSuppli Signage & Professional Displays report from information and analysis provider IHS.
Shipments of signage and professional displays in 2012 are projected to reach 17.3 million units, up from 15.4 million units last year and 13.5 million units in 2010. Deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2011 alone—the latest time for which full figures are available—amounted to some 4.3 million units, worth an estimated $3.8 billion. The market will continue to see solid expansion in the years to come, with total shipments hitting 25.8 million units by 2016.
The digital signage market includes displays used for both digital out-of-home communication and commercial applications. As a form of digital media, digital signage deploys advertising, branding, entertainment and information to their target audiences, using a network of displays in which content can be remotely controlled, managed and updated.
Growth in digital signage comes mainly from its proliferating use in installations for commercial markets like the retail and hospitality industries, and also in public areas such as sports venues. Likewise aiding industry expansion are the rapidly decreasing prices of LCD displays in 40-, 42- and 46-inch sizes, as well as advances in technology related to super-narrow bezel video walls, interactive touch screens and high-brightness outdoor displays, IHS iSuppli has determined.
For their part, marketers are eager to reach on-the-go consumers and shoppers through digital signage. Digital place-based media continues to gather momentum, using technology to balance central coordination with local intelligence for creating tailored communication with customers.
Among the markets where digital signage and professional displays are most often employed, the three highest-performing segments last year were retail, hospitality/healthcare and government/corporate, and the same is expected for 2012. Other important segments include education, the outdoor market, and the control room/simulation sector.
Meanwhile, the Top 3 display technologies generating the largest revenue for signage and professional displays this year will be LCD at $8.3 billion, front projection at $3.6 billion and light-emitting diode (LED) at $1.4 billion. A small market also exists for signage utilizing plasma display and rear-projection technologies.
The 40- to 44-inch and the 45- to 49-inch categories were dominant in 2011, but the focus by 2016 will shift toward even larger sizes, including the 50- to 59-inch group of displays. Smaller sizes, such as the 25- to 29-inch and the 30- to 34-inch, are predicted to lose traction as larger-sized displays become more affordable.
Within the vital in-room hospitality displays market of North America, LG Electronics was the dominant player in the fourth quarter last year, with 47 percent share of shipments. LG sells directly to its customers in the hospitality industry, a strategy that has served the South Korean firm well, especially in securing big corporate contracts with hotel chains.
Other notable performers included Samsung Electronics, also from South Korea and considered by the industry as the technology leader, with 17 percent market share; and Panasonic Corp. from Japan, with 15 percent share.