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Electric Signs

1999 Electric State of the Industry Report

Electric-Sign Industry Grew by 70% in the ’90s to $5.4 Billion



The 1999 State of the Industry (SOI) report for the electric portion of the sign industry closes out another decade. A total sales volume of $5.4 billion, a new high, has been estimated, which is hardly news. Happens every year. For all statistics, the 1999 figures probably rate a bit below 1998, which remains the "best" year for the electric-sign industry of the past 20 years, but 1999 would still qualify for at least third- (if not second-) best over the same time period.

What’s news is the three responses from "new" companies with sales in excess of $80 million. One company had not participated in previous SOI studies, and the two others reported sales for their entire companies, whereas previously, their branches had reported individually.

For SOI tables that compute percentages, the impact of these large-company responses is negligible. But these data greatly change the averages (means) for tables based on dollar figures. Nonetheless, the input from these three companies reflects a new reality, so we’ve factored their responses into each table.

But for this year, we’re tweaking our analysis with some emphasis toward median figures, which provides more meaningful comparison with 1998. "Median" is the middle figure in a hierarchical ranking of responses. It isn’t affected by individual extremes. So even if we had a response from a $200 million sign company, median figures would be affected negligibly. To view a full 1999 Electric State of the Industry Report, purchase a back issue of Signs of the Times, July 2000 magazine. Preview:


Table 2: Average $ Sales/Company (Sales Volume in $)
Sales Volume All Companies Mostly Custom-Built Electric Signs Mostly Quantity-Production Electric Signs
< 5M 24,511 18,274 30,368
2.5M-4.99M 3,412 3,288 3,683
1M-2.49M 1,483 1,545 1,350
500K-999K 655 644 550
250K-499K 351 368 N/A
100K-249K 156 154 200
50K-99K 65 63 N/A
> 50K 27 29 N/A
Overall Average 3,512 2,788 17,364
Median   805


Table 7: Year 2000 Anticipated Equipment Investment
$50,000 + 26.9%
$10,000 to $49,000 37.2%
$5,000 to $9,999 15.8%
>$5,000 12.6%
None 6.3%
Don’t Know 1.2%
Mean Average 100%



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