ISA report shows sign industry poised to reap benefits in an improving economy

As the U.S. economy grows, sign, graphics and visual communications companies are on pace to benefit, according to the International Sign Association (ISA) Sign Industry Quarterly Economic Report for the second quarter of 2017. This is traditionally good news for its members in Canada as well. The ISA Sign Industry Quarterly Economic Report forecasts into 2019, and assesses four industry sectors. These include two supplier markets (printing and electrical/digital signage) and two end markets (electric/digital signage and architectural signage). The report also forecasts commodities, a new addition to its report. Prepared in June, the study is sponsored by the National Association of Sign Supply Distributors (NASSD). Overall, the supply side has a strongly positive outlook for both 2017 and 2018, showing large improvements over last quarter’s statistics – in large part due to the bump in business investment at the beginning of 2017. Business fixed investment increased at an annual 11.4% rate in the first quarter – the strongest gain in five years. Construction spending will likely drop in the second quarter, but then rebound solidly in the second half and post sizable gains early next year, as spending from additional infrastructure kicks in.

Other highlights:

  • For suppliers in the printing industry, the outlook is strongly positive over the course of the forecast, following a down year in 2016.
  • Expectations improved quite a bit for suppliers to the electronic and digital sectors of the market, with big upticks in both 2017 and 2018 after a relatively difficult year in 2016.
  • The outlook for end-market electric and digital signs remains strong through 2018. While growth is forecast to slow in 2019, it will remain well above historical trends.
  • The end market for architectural signage will continue to capitalize on favourable conditions at least until the end of 2018.

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. Those interested in learning more about the ISA Sign Industry Quarterly Economic Report, how 2016 ended, and the outlook for 2017-2018, can participate in a free webinar hosted by IHS at 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday, July 19. Please register at The report is free for ISA, ISA Affiliated Association and NASSD members. Non-members may purchase it for $1,000 (USD) per forecast. This research can be accessed at


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.