Canadian Demand for Digital Signage Outpaces United States

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Company News, DOOH, Insight

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. Canadian grunge flag. A canadian flag with a texture.

  • 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?


  • Chris Soehner

    From my personal experience, I am finding the smaller rural communities are quicker to embrace the digital signage advertising network faster than the urban areas. As long as it is properly priced to each community, it seems to be a faster success. In my dealings with urban areas, there are too many other marketing options like newspaper, radio, tv, yellow pages, websites, etc. In the rural communities, they are more of a community & like to promote the “Shop Local” idea.

    • Nate Nead

      Thank you for your input Chris. That’s great insight from direct experience. It’s fortunate that the local model works to sustain smaller, regional networks that are connected by mutual business interest in that “Shop Local” mentality. The question is, what will it take to really move the dial on a massive scale, especially from an advertising angle, especially when you ARE competing with so many other channels?

  • Scott Pettie

    If I may, I represent a company in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We are part of our “support local” movement and most of our clients have been coffee shops and restaurants that are trying to compete with larger food chains. We find the digital Signage tools being offered are a simpler medium to work with compared to other forms. Our client’s customers are receiving targeted information and because of the “support local” concept, our services are being spread by word of mouth. People are still hesitate to invest in new technology but word of mouth seems to be winning out. That’s a cultural norm around here.

    • Nate Nead

      Thanks for contributing Scott. I’m sure the local + word of mouth method is one of the main reasons we’re seeing increased demand in areas like Halifax. Luckily, it’s still one of the most powerful methods out there from which we’re also seeing success.

      Also, digital signage often requires more high-touch in terms of sales than many other forms–in part due to it’s uniqueness. The “local” model helps in grassroots growth as well. What we may be seeing in terms of demand from a HW/SW perspective may just be the result of a bit more early adoption and gestation time for the word-of-mouth to take effect.

  • Jonas Christoffersen

    With my limited knowledge of U.S. verses Canadian cultural differences, I think the Canadians are a bit more like us Danes, It just has to be simple and easy to use.

    In the last couple of years Digital Signage have Sky rocketed in Europe, it has become within reach of smaller companies and goverment institutions as the ROI is becomming better and better as the technolegy progresses. This is properbly also why you are seing and will see even more over te comming years, more signups from within EU, this also gives a conflicting issue as people inside EU will signup for the service, but they will tipically not buy the hardware, as that recuieres import registration and a lot of paperwork. you should open an office inside the EU and your mediaplayers would sell much more in this region.

    • Nate Nead

      Thank you for your meaningful input Jonas. We’ve certainly run into cost prohibitions due to import issues and opening an EU office is something we have considered. Demand overseas–not just in Canada–is growing relative to the overall U.S. share of our sales and it’s certainly something to take very seriously. As general demand for digital signage increases, there will certainly be a need for cost-effective solutions to meet the needs of end-users.

  • Emily Dietz

    Ive noticed that a lot of US demand for digital signage comes from restaurants. There is a Florida-based company that I know of called Menuat and they specialize in digital menus. They essentially make it easier for the restaurant to make changes to prices, promotions and layout, and have those changes instantly reflected in-store and online. Their service basically eliminates the need for paper menus. Here is a link to their website:

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