Report says digital signage is booming; we say hmmm…

August 12, 2011 by Dave Haynes

All the reports that get issued on this space tend to blur together after a while, and the forecasts of growth and $X.X Billion values thrown at the sector just look like abstract numbers.

I struggle, particularly, to get excited about forecasts from research companies that would have the most fleeting, drive-by grasp of the sector. However, lots of people seem to be bouncy in their chairs about the missive from IMS Research about this sector.

The June 9th release, which seems to have just come on the radar screen now, suggests: IMS Research Forecasts Digital Signage to Enjoy 40 Percent Growth Worldwide Through 2013, to Top $7 billion

Money. Money. SWEET MONEY!!! Well as soon as I finish typing this I am heading down to the Bentley dealership.

Or … maybe not.

IMS Research is in the business of developing research reports and forecasts, and knocks them out at a clip of about one per day. You can get a forecast on proportional pneumatics or the automotive camera modules market.

Certainly, the research analysts apply some real number-crunching based on sales and economic patterns. But there is nothing in the report summary to suggest more than a passing familiarity with the sector and therefore some genuine understanding beyond the figures.

For example, consider this sweeping generality highlighted in the release:

“There is increasing recognition that it is a valuable tool for directly interacting with audiences, and providing a compelling additional dimension to augment overall advertising placements across media. While it is still true that the majority of advertising spend is not in outdoor displays, let alone outdoor digital signage, we expect this to change significantly as urbanization continues and as advertisers recognize the need to reach their audience beyond the living room, where usage of digital video recorders is increasing”.


IMS Research asserts that businesses of all sizes will benefit from the proliferation of digital signage – especially with affordable leasing agreements and software as service (SaaS) – in extending the SMBs’ reach to new audiences, while enabling companies of all sizes to more accurately engage with their target audiences.

Deep stuff.

My point here is that these kinds of  macro forecast numbers make for exciting headlines and perhaps get investors who are looking at the space all hot and bothered. But don’t place your business bets based on these sorts of figures. Anything that suggests 40% growth, driven heavily (apparently) by retail investment, in a global economy that’s going to be sputtering for quite some time, needs to be considered with skepticism.


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