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Top of Europe: State of the Digital Signage Industry 2022

Shortly before ISE 2023 invidis invited Europe’s leading digital signage integrators – Trison, M-Cube and ZetaDisplay – for an interview about the state of the industry. Alberto Caceres, Manlio Romanelli und Per Mandorf exclusively at invidis.  

Trison: “Crisis-Resilence through Global Customer Portfolio”

The pandemic, war in the Ukraine and delivery shortages – despite many external challenges, the speed of Trison’s growth is outpacing the market. Invidis spoke to Trison CEO Alberto Caceres about the advantage of a global customer base for crisis-resiliency, full warehouses, and the largest booth of any integrator at ISE 2022.

Alberto Caceres, CEO of Trison (Photo: TRISON)
Alberto Caceres, CEO of Trison (Photo: TRISON)

The three largest European digital signage integrators emerged from the global crisis as winners. More revenue, more profit, and large order backups. The industry leader Trison marks no exception. In 2021, the La Coruna-based digital signage solutions provider increased revenue by 40 percent, reaching annual revenues of 60 million Euros. For the current year, Trison plans to continue growing at a similar speed. In the invidis interview, Trison CEO Alberto Cacares revealed: “Trison had an excellent start to the new year – in April alone, our team executed 400 digital signage projects”.

Trison with European subsidiaries in Spain, France, the UK and Germany as well as overseas branches in the Middle East, North- and Latin America and Asia, has already been able to win new major deals with globally active customers. The Trison CEO did not want to reveal any names yet. “We are focused on globally active customers – that makes us more crisis-resistant in challenging times like these”. Trison too is affected by the war in the Ukraine and the Western world’s boycott of Russia.

Although Alberto Cacares did not share any customer details, the closing of over 500 stores of Inditex (Zara) in Russia and the Ukraine has surely left an impact also at Trison. Inditex generated nearly 10% of global sales in the two markets in 2021. Porsche, another of Trison’s blue chip customers also withdrew from Russia at the start of the war. However, Trison is confident that they are well on the way compensating for the loss of sales with new business deals: „Other markets continue to perform exceedingly well, and we remain committed to our ambitious growth targets.“

Supply chain under control

The current global supply constraints of screens, LED, and media players does not affect Trison’s daily business as of yet. Europe’s leading integrator already stocked up warehouses more than usual with display signage hardware in fall 2021.

„We are able to supply everything to our customers so far – our warehouses are full to the brim. In addition, as a hardware-agnostic supplier, we have always been very flexible – that helps us in times of crisis.“ For 2022, Alberto Caceres does not currently expect any supply chain-relevant project postponements. But in La Coruna like in Malmö or Milan, Trison is driving on sight.

Trison debuts with own stand at ISE

ISE 2022 is a special show for Trison. For the first time, the world’s leading digital signage trade fair will take place in their own backyard. Trison is flying the flag with its own booth – in a prime location in Hall 3 within sight of the major display manufacturers.

More than 40 Trison employees from all over Europe and the Middle East will represent Trison at ISE. For the first time also under a single brand. As of this month, all Trison companies are operating under a single brand.

Trison will showcase immersive experiences and solutions around holograms, 3D content from Trison’s Bilbao-based agency Necsum, and innovative solutions for the Metaverse and NFT. „We are proud that ISE has now found its new home in Spain.“

M-Cube: „Surge in Demand for Digital Signage”

Demand for digital signage solutions is surging at M-Cube, the European digital signage integrator with Italian roots, despite global crises. Sales in the first quarter developed considerably better than budgeted. A drop in demand in Russia was more than compensated by a surge for digital signage solutions in North America. invidis spoke with M-Cube President Manlio Romanelli.

Manlio Romanelli, President M-Cube (Photo: M-Cube)
Manlio Romanelli, President M-Cube (Photo: M-Cube)

Demand for digital signage solutions doesn’t seem to know any crisis – at least that’s our impression from talking to Europe’s leading integrators a few days before ISE. Although there is a bit of a crisis – declining business is compensated in other markets. M-Cube develops and installs digital signage and in-store music solutions for more than 80 luxury brands worldwide. A segment hit hard by western sanctions against Russia.

Today M-Cube is more concerned about the lockdowns in China, where the Italian digital signage supplier operates with subsidiaries in Shanghai and Hong Kong. But compared to total sales, the revenue connected to the affected stores in Russia and China is negligible, amounting to less than 5% of M-Cube’s sales.

In the first quarter, the Italians increased sales by 25%, and this compared to an already interims boom quarter 01/2021. „We are extremely pleased with the business performance. The Italian market developed into our revenue locomotive and across the group, demand for high-revenue LED projects in particular grew considerably,“ said M-Cube President Manlio Romanelli to invidis. Overshadowing all European and Chinese crises is the boom in North America – a far distance away from the Ukraine war and European energy crises. M-Cube is picking up excellent business across the Atlantic.

Prepared for supply bottlenecks

The stalled supply of hardware has not affected M-Cube so far. „The impact is far less than we expected – but we have taken precautions. In addition hardware availability is surprisingly good at the moment, but that may change in the coming weeks given developments in China.“

Full order books – inflation may weigh on market

M-Cube cannot see a drop in demand for digital signage and in-store music solutions. The opposite is the case: the order books are at record level – the order backlog is 50% above the previous year. Manlio Romanelli is more worried about the future in regards to inflation: „The weakening euro, rising hardware costs and inflation adjustments in salaries may weigh on the industry in the second half of the year and could cloud demand.“

M-Cube at ISE

At ISE, M-Cube and its LED subsidiary M-Cube are back with a booth in the digital signage hall. The highlight on the booth is an Immersive Experience Room for luxury brands. Since spring, all M-Cube subsidiaries are operating under a single brand, which makes marketing and customer acquisition easier. The benefits are not limited to the digital signage market, but also in the areas of retail tech and music. The Group’s own omnichannel platform is a subject close to Romanelli’s heart – there will be news on this shortly.

Zeta CEO Per Mandorf:  Leading on with solutions and services

2022 business performance has started of well and according to plan with post covid growth showing in several key areas, says ZetaDisplay CEO Per Mandorf to invidis. ZetaDisplay are now focusing even more on an expanded unified service offering, continued investments in the in-house digital signage software platform Engage as well as growth acceleration.

ZetaDisplay is one of the leading digital signage full-service providers in Europe and was acquired and delisted from the stock market in 2021 by London-based private equity firm Hanover Investors. Even before the acquisition, ZetaDisplay was a driving force in European market consolidation, in total, ZetaDisplay, based in Malmö, southern Sweden, acquired nearly a dozen digital signage companies in just a few years.

Per Mandorf, CEO of Zetadisplay (Photo: ZetaDisplay)
Per Mandorf, CEO of Zetadisplay (Photo: ZetaDisplay)

In September 2019 Per Mandorf joined as CEO. Since then, he focused on integrating the acquired companies in the Nordics, BeNeLux and Germany into a single group structure.

„We serve many of our customers internationally, so products, services and our go to market strategies need to be aligned,“ says Per Mandorf in an invidis interview. „We’ve now implemented a function-based organizational structure, with group-wide competence centers e.g., for our software or for our services.“ The organizational model is designed to enable ZetaDisplay to serve customers with the same quality in a customer centric and scalable manner worldwide. „The function-based model ensures group excellence support in close collaboration with our local teams working next to our clients to solve the local market needs.“

For ZetaDisplay, a uniform service offering and consistently high service quality is business-critical. Developing the groupwide service offering was a key milestone for ZetaDisplay as a group. Not only did all services need to be defined in detail, but also the delivery of service levels all the way through project management and after-market services. Multi market clients expect that the provider has a global reach, with a capacity to deliver sophisticated service concepts and solutions.

Mandorf – who comes from the retail software business – puts great importance on the joint digital signage software platform, Engage. The new software platform was not developed completely from scratch, but builds on several existing group-owned CMS platforms. With a new user interface, cloud based architecture and extended business critical features, ZetaDisplay has created a future proof, strategic, scalable product platform  to upgrade its customers.“

Per Mandorf believes ZetaDisplay is well positioned to enter the next phase of growth. The focus for further growth will be based on both organic growth as well as acquisitions. „With Hanover Investors, we have a strong partner at our side with whom we are able to continue to grow rapidly.“