Research Indicates Digital Signage Is On The Right Track

The following is reprinted with permission from the Digital Screenmedia Association (DSA). For more information, go to

New research from IHS iSuppli indicates growing adoption of digital signage around the world as professionals in the retail, hospitality, healthcare, corporate and government sectors look to the medium to communicate to audiences on the go.

Political watchers probably are familiar with that often-asked question — and even more often asked in an election year: Is the country on the right track or the wrong track?

I would propose that those who make their living communicating marketing messages, ads, information and even entertainment on digital signs should frequently ask themselves a similar question. Is digital signage on the right track or wrong track? In other words, is digital signage a growing, vibrant communications medium that is headed in the right direction as a viable communications choice? Or, is it losing favor?

A new forecast from display market research specialists IHS iSuppli suggests that, indeed, digital signage is on the right track, at least if its adoption is any indication. According to the forecast, digital signage will see impressive growth. Worldwide shipments of signage and professional displays this year will reach 17.2 million units, up from 15.4 million in 2011 and 13.5 million in 2010. For the year, the unit shipments will reach 12.6 percent, and by 2016 they are expected to reach nearly 26 million units, IHS iSuppli forecasts.

The research firm attributes the healthy growth to a few factors, including a greater need for digital signage in public spaces and the rapidly declining price of LCD panels.

The IHS iSuppli forecast also identifies the largest digital signage markets for 2011. They include retail, hospitality/healthcare and government/corporate. The forecast also finds the education, outdoor and control room/simulation markets to be important.

So why are those with a message to communicate increasingly adopting digital signage? A few reasons are clear. First, digital signage has the unique ability to reach the public with clear, impactful communications when they are on the go.

Second, because it’s a place-based medium, digital signage communicators can identify areas to locate signs that likely will be frequented by their target audience. For example, a restaurateur has a pretty good idea that the people entering the restaurant have eating on their minds, and the registrar of a college knows students entering the administration building at the beginning of the semester are likely interested in class registration information.

Third, digital signage offers communicators the chance to change messaging frequently — at little to no expense — which makes the medium responsive to rapidly changing requirements.

For all of these reasons and several others that have been well discussed in this space in the past, digital signage increasingly is being selected as an important part of an overall communications strategy.

As this nation enters the political season, journalists surely will report on the public’s response to the right-track-wrong-track question. I’m sure each time I hear one of those stories, I am will be reminded of this column and the clear evidence from IHS iSuppli that digital signage is indeed on the right track as a communications medium.

While prognosticating about the results of any of this political season’s races is a craps shoot, one thing is predictable. Digital signage as a communications medium will remain on the right track as long as professional communicators need to reach people on the go with their important messages.