SGIA 2018 Marks an End of Industry Segmentation

Ryan McAbee
Oct 25, 2018

A bustling crowd of roughly 24,000 attendees packed the Las Vegas Convention Center from October 18 to October 20, 2018. The reason? The SGIA Expo – to be clear, the last SGIA Expo. Those who came to the event got the chance to learn tips to improve their businesses, catch a glimpse of new and upcoming technologies, and share insights among their fellow industry peers. With 600 exhibitors in attendance, there was no shortage of activity, conversation, and presentations.

SGIA Expo Opening Day

SGIA Expo 2018 Opening Crowd

A Converging, Competing Marketspace

The main theme of SGIA 2018 could be summed up in one word: convergence. Those in printing are seeing their business landscape undergo radical changes. The industry labels used to distinguish one type of print shop from another are now largely obsolete. Sign shops produce customized products like water bottles, commercial printers create canvases and posters, screen printers work on digitally printed textiles like t-shirts and fabrics.

The signs on converging industries are everywhere and should not be dismissed. This is no fad; company owners should not be counting on the market to re-segment itself as time goes on. In fact, the opposite is likely. What is converging now can only be expected to continue. New, sophisticated hardware at affordable prices has allowed print companies to diversify their product portfolios, and consumers increasingly expect a diverse, personalized product lineup and one-stop-shop ordering.

These changes are creating challenges as companies must adapt workflow requirements they are unused to following. For instance, wide format printers have not typically used the automation strategies of their commercial counterparts. However, as vertical lines blur, organizations have no choice but to evolve or fall behind their competition.

SGIA Evolves for the Future

To further stress the theme of permanent evolution, SGIA announced an end to its expo format. This, however, does not mean the event is retiring. What was SGIA Expo will become PRINTING United. According to SGIA, this event will serve as a brand-new tradeshow experience that will be focused on the new opportunities created by the printing industry convergence. Everything on display will be selected to appeal to a widest range of printers and their needs – serving to bridge the gap in education across former divisional lines.

As part of this change, vendors typically associated with commercial printing – including Fujifilm, Kodak, Komori, and Screen – will be present. PRINTING United will debut in Dallas, Texas, on October 23, 2019.

Expect Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends to be on hand to cover PRINTING United and report back exactly what has changed for SGIA’s signature event. More information, including our complete show review for SGIA Expo 2018, can be found through our online store.

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