Going back to mid-2019, AVIXA, the audiovisual and integrated experience association, projected healthy annual growth for the global Pro AV market in its annual report. Around this time of year, we'd look at AVIXA's 2019 Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis (IOTA) report and write a "year-in-review" blog which highlighted a series of trends like system on chip (SoC) and projection mapping that are contributing to the growth AVIXA projected. Unfortunately, 2020 didn't really work out like anyone expected.
According to Tom Jones
, Ingram Micro's Pro AV expert, the Pro AV industry began feeling the pandemic's economic impact in the February and March timeframe. "We saw two things happen early on," he recalls. "The first is that the supply chain for products and the components that are used to manufacture them dried up. At the same time, customers began feeling the financial strain of shutdowns and the purchasing of Pro AV slowed."
As a result, Jones says savvy solution providers were forced to change their 2020 strategies. "When markets like retail, restaurant, stadiums and houses of worship stop buying, you had to evolve," he says. "Some solution providers expanded their line cards to include new products and some added new services. For those with customers still willing to make investments, the lack of supply meant having to use whatever displays were available—whether smaller than ideal, larger, or even consumer-grade."
Solution providers who added products and services wisely focused on the immediate needs created by the pandemic. Smaller tablet-based signage might not be ideal for driving sales in a retail store, but they work great as an entry area reminder to wear masks and maintain social distance. Some, especially in the corporate environment, took these solutions further by adding a thermal camera to scan shoppers and employees for fever upon entry. For a more robust temperature-sensing solution, Jones says some solution providers began offering thermal cameras that replace entry-area surveillance cameras.
As 2020 passed, things improved. Currently, Jones says the supply chain is ramping up production and supply shortages aren't as crippling. On the customer side, many businesses were able to reopen under new health and safety guidelines. As a result, Jones says digital signage has taken on a new use to remind shoppers, visitors and employees to follow best practices in mask-wearing, social distancing and hygiene.
In its latest 2020 report, AVIXA explains the industry is expected to decline to $239 billion due to the pandemic (after hitting a peak of $259 billion in 2019). However, IOTA shows the industry recovering to its pre-COVID levels in 2022 before growing to $315 billion in 2025. This represents a 5.8% five-year CAGR that will drive revenue $56 billion past its 2019 level.
By most accounts, there's reason to have hope for a much better 2021. In next month's blog, Jones will be sharing his predictions for the new year and beyond. Until then, happy holidays and best wishes.