Digital Signage Is A $XX Billion Market!!! Ok, Umm, Sure …

February 2, 2016 by Dave Haynes


I don’t know how many meetings and conference presentations I’ve been at that sees one or more presenters, early on in their sessions, pop up a slide that shows a chart that climbs up and a big, honking number at the end – signifying the market size for digital signage.

It’s almost always a number followed by 000,000,000, attributed to some obscure research firm.

Somebody will then ask me if I buy into that number, and I suggest it probably reflects the same level of science and accuracy as a rousing game of Pin The Tail On The Donkey … after a few vodka and red bull shots.

First, how does someone get to these numbers and what all is included? Second, what use is that or other big numbers, other than impressing people with big honking numbers. Does saying the global digital signage market will be worth $14+ billion in four years have any meaning or material impact on any buyers or sellers? I assume investors invest in companies, not broad, open-ended market forecasts.

There are definitely real research firms producing valid, worthwhile work and results. But there are also several research mills regularly issuing and re-issuing reports and PR that attach big numbers and growth to digital signage and endless different market segments. If you pay attention to them, you start to realize that every sector covered seems to be growing – presumably because who wants to buy a superficial report for $1500-$2000 that says things are stalling or tanking?

I note this because these reports get quoted and referenced frequently – though the quality of the analysis is, reasonably, subject to a lot of debate and skepticism.

Consider the latest release from a company called Technavio, which last Thursday issued this: Global Digital Signage Market to Exceed USD 14 Billion by 2020, Says Technavio

So I was curious what that research factory also put out that day, as these sorts of companies tend to issue reports on everything, and do it in bunches. Here’s the listings just for the web page the signage report was on:

28 Jan 2016
Technavio says global digital signage market worth $14.23 billion by 2020

28 Jan 2016
Technavio expects POCT market in Europe to reach over $5 billion by 2019

28 Jan 2016
LBS Market in Southeast Asia set to grow at a CAGR of 48% by 2020, expects Technavio

28 Jan 2016
Technavio expects global stevia market to reach over $573 million by 2020, thanks to high demand for low-calorie beverages

28 Jan 2016
Technavio expects global commercial-purpose drones market set to grow at a CAGR of 57% by 2020

28 Jan 2016
Growth in water safety concerns will help global water purifier market to reach over $18 billion by 2020, says Technavio

28 Jan 2016
Technavio expects global vibration sensor market worth $33.5 billion by 2020

28 Jan 2016
Technavio expects global VDI market to grow at a CAGR of 27% by 2020, owing to cloud-based VDI applications

28 Jan 2016
Technavio expects the global production of specialty tires to surpass 98 million units by 2020

28 Jan 2016
Increase in waterless urinals to increase the global sales of urinals to 14 million units by 2020, says Technavio

It goes on like that for seven or eight pages just for January 28th. So on the same day the company did key market research on the signage industry, it put out something like 80 other reports, including ones on waterless urinals and fibreglass ladders. There was another big stack of reports for yesterday.

As noted in the past, I really wonder about people who drop big money to buy these reports. They’re paying $2,000 for an expert report from a company that apparently has sector expertise on … everything.

And I just roll my eyes when the big forecast numbers get treated as gospel by those people whipping open their PowerPoint decks.


  1. Todd Fender says:


    Although I agree with most of what you posted, please be careful not to place all research companies into the same “research mill / research factory” bucket.

    Additionally, acquisitions for the purpose of consolidation is a common practice in many other industry sectors.

    Does being acquired by IHS (most known for its research in the global oil markets) make the DisplayBank, Infonetics, iSuppli, and DisplaySearch (to name a few) assets and resources less valuable, accurate or reliable?

    Without posting too long of a dissertation about how I believe we (IHS) do it better than the “mills and factories”; from our methodologies to our first-level relationships with members in the supply chain to employing analysts from within the display industry…

    I will be at ISE next week and DSE in March (including the mixer) and would be happy to explain IHS’s methodologies, and to give you some profiles of customers who subscribe to our reports and show how and why they use them.

    I can also give you a free CarFax or suggest that you download the Root Metrics app to test the cell and data coverage in your area 🙂 (Both owned by IHS).

    I can be reached at

  2. Jill says:

    You have made my day Dave!

  3. Nickki says:

    well yeah rolling my eyes too! great insight Dave!

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