Attempting to influence drivers with eye-catching visuals and marketing messages is no new concept. After all, roadside signs and billboards have been used as promotional tools since the introduction of the automobile. Today, however, more and more businesses are using the bodies of cars, vans and trucks as the advertising medium. Companies all across the nation -- from small, independently-owned operations to Fortune 500 corporations -- are maximizing consumer awareness and interest by covering their vehicles with colorful, attention-grabbing graphics.
Increased popularity and demand has turned vehicle wrapping itself into a sizeable business. The most comprehensive research conducted to date (a study by Mountain View, Calif.-based analysis and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan) estimated that the industry generated $220 to $250 million at the retail level. The same study also projected 10 percent year-over-year vehicle wrap market growth over the next several years. This kind of growth shows that vehicle wrapping is gaining widespread acceptance as a form of advertising. Businesses are recognizing that that people are spending more time in their cars than ever before, and that vehicle wraps offer a logical, effective and affordable way to reach large numbers of prospective customers.
Clearly, wrapping vehicles has become one of the hottest forms of outdoor advertising. Businesses that specialize in wraps are springing up all across the country and a large number of existing automotive aftermarket and sign shops are adding this service to their current offerings. Jobs these operations take on range from applying graphics to an individual car to wrapping large commercial fleets of vehicles. The success of a wrap shop like Louisville, Ky.-based Digital EFX Wraps is indicative of where this industry is heading. Co-owner Matt Richart notes that while the market has become more competitive, his business has grown substantially each year since starting up in 2004.
"Digital EFX Wraps began as a two-man operation, working out of a 1,800 square-foot work space," said Richart. "Now, we have seven employees, and we'll be moving into a new 6,400 square-foot facility in August. Our annual sales have also increased steadily. Since 2010, we've experienced year-over-year increases of 13.5 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively, and thus far into 2013, sales are up more than 19 percent compared to the same time in 2012."
Richart is quick to point out that technological advancements have played a major role in his company's growth and success.
"Large-formatdigital printing equipment has made it easier than ever to transform almost anything on four wheels into an effective advertising vehicle -- literally," he explained. "We're not just talking about basic vinyl lettering and phone numbers on the side of a realtor's car. Vehicle wraps have evolved into a true art form, thanks in part to the state-of-the-art large format printers and software now available. Considerable expertise is still required, but these innovations have made it relatively simple to create stunning wraps with incredible color, detail and special effects."