Skyrocketing domestic sales combined with booming global demand, production bottlenecks and issues accessing freight have combined to create a supply issue for self-adhesive vinyl in Australia.
The coronavirus pandemic has driven demand for floor graphics, particularly those that can be directly printed, to never before seen levels.
Retailers, shopping centres, schools, office buildings, gyms and workplaces are starting to re-open but must map out social distancing guidelines by way of floor signage creating massive demands for this type of print work.
Ball & Doggett national manager of floor graphics Leigh Hooper says the floor, or what he calls ‘the fifth wall’, is finally getting the recognition it deserves with the unprecedented demand resulting in a 250 to 300 per cent sales increase for the paper and consumables supplier.
There has also been a rapid rise in demand for home décor as many working from home seek to do some quick wall updates to freshen up their Zoom backdrop.
All of this has also created a slight supply issue, not quite in the realm of the great COVID-19 ‘loo roll’ shortage, but not too far off.
“The situation is actually quite dire,” Hooper told Sprinter.
“We’ve got multiple suppliers of different floor graphics, whether that be vinyl and laminate solutions or direct printable solutions, and all of those have been impacted in some form.
“We have got quite a bit of stock arriving from the middle to the end of June thankfully.”
Hooper says the demand for EZ Floor and Mastertac Alu-Foil Floor Graphic has been astronomical, mainly due to the fact it can be printed on directly ruling out the need for laminating in post-production.
The main issue stems from the significant increase in global demands, which has resulted in lead-time delays in the key production centres in the UK, Europe and Asia.
Then there is the problem of getting the stock here.
With commercial flights largely grounded, air freight has almost tripled in price and also been hard to access, Hooper said.
“Production lead times are having an effect because of the demand the virus is creating,” Hooper said.
“It is now a first in first served scenario so if there is huge demand in the US and Europe, the challenge for us in Australia is being able to fit in there somewhere.”
Starleaton, an Australian-owned family business that specialises in the supply, distribution and service of printing hardware and consumables, is experiencing similar demands for its self-adhesive vinyl and laminates.
“Yes, floor graphics media are flying off the shelf,” Starleaton’s marketing manager Ines Eaton told Sprinter.
“All printable floor graphics solutions and the laminates where sold out in no time (stock on shelf and the incoming stock).
“At first people were using any floor rated stock they could get their hands on but now slip rating and longevity are becoming the main deciding factors as people realise the graphics will be used for more than a few weeks.
“As you can imagine all of our suppliers are trying to catch up with the worldwide demand and producing 24/7. We secured a few hundreds of rolls already which are coming in via air freight and sea freight. 2/3 of them have also been pre-sold already. We are working very close with all suppliers to get more stock made for the Australian market.”
Eaton said Starleaton’s range includes Alumigraphics, an aluminium based film ideal for outdoor (tested R12); the Neschen Easy Dot Print’N’Walk, which is a structured SAV with the famous Easy Dot adhesive for easy application (tested R9) and the Helixx AntiSkid polyester fabric (tested R11).
Eaton adds some slip rated laminates go on top of any vinyl, specifically the HELIXx® Base Fine Textured Satin with a matching monomeric vinyl.’
Ball & Doggett and Starleaton are exhibiting their range at the Visual Connections’ Virtual Tradeshow. To visit the show, please click here.
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