We’ve started running quite a few metrics on our past, current and potential customers and we’re seeing a growing trend: on a per-capita basis recent sales data has Canada beating the United States in total media player and reseller signups by nearly 200%. That is, of course, after you take into account population and demographic differences. However, it begs the question: “why?” I have my own thoughts which I’ll certainly innumerate below, but I would love feedback in the comments section.
- Canada’s more urban than rural. Unlike the United States, large portions of Canada remain less-than-desirable for habitation. Hence, Canada’s population is almost forced into more urban centers. And–as might be expected–rural areas don’t lend themselves well to high volumes of digital signage purchases.
- Their economy still isn’t as bad as the U.S. It never has been. As we’ve discussed before, digital signage can often be a luxury item–something that’s not demanded in an environment with higher than normal unemployment, Quantitative Easing, and tight-fisted corporate execs, fearful about where to invest. I hate to place the onus on economic issues, but I certainly think it’s a contributing factor. It could also be true that Americans are using their own hardware more, but I doubt that is a major contributing factor.
- Canadians may just be more “into it.” Perhaps it’s more hip to use digital signage up north. In the states, we may just be a little behind the curve when it comes to adopting the latest technology.
- Canadians may respond better to digital out-of-home advertising. The culture of our two countries are not too diametrically opposed, but culture differences may lend more favorably to boosting demand in Canada over the United States (I tend to think this is a ridiculous reason, but it could play a minor role).
We’re also seeing a large increase in the amount and volume of foreign interest for our products. The lion’s share of our products are still sold to U.S. and Canadian firms. However, there are a growing number of client acquisitions coming from foreign markets. For instance, a trailing look at yesterday’s free account signups indicates nearly 30% of all new accounts came from overseas customers.
Worldwide demand for digital signage will certainly outpace any existing or future demand in the United States by a long shot. The question is: where will the best pockets be for future investment in this technology in terms of locale? What do you think?