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AVIXA Impact Survey: As Sentiment Levels Off, More Revenue Declines And Layoffs Seem To Loom

AVIXA

AVIXA’s 10th weekly COVID-19 Impact Survey shows there are growing signs the pro AV industry is in for a protracted recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic challenges it has presented. Revenue continues to be under increasing pressure, and it appears layoffs, as opposed to furloughs, are on the rise.

This is happening at the same time economies around the globe begin to open and the work situation thaws. In many parts of the world, when governments initially imposed restrictions, many AV providers were still able to work on projects already in progress, based on their status as essential telecommunications or construction contractors. But until recently, large swaths of society were still shuttered, meaning it was a matter of time before the wider economic slowdown might catch up to the industry.

On the bright side, the immediate, week-to-week negative effects from COVID-19 may be easing. In this week’s Impact Survey, fielded June 2-3, 62 percent of AV providers cited negative impacts over the prior week—still a sizable figure, but down from 66 percent the week before and a high of 88 percent in early April. Roughly 57 percent of AV end user respondents perceived negative impacts the past week, a percentage that has held fairly steady over several surveys, but is also down from a peak of 83 percent when AVIXA Market Intelligence first began asking AV Intelligence Panel members about the effects of COVID-19 on their business.

Asked to predict when the bulk of AV projects would recommence, the most common answer among AV providers—with 19 percent—was “Not until next year some time.” But still, 56 percent said anywhere from July to October. Among end users surveyed, 25 percent are thinking the bulk of AV project work will begin in July, possibly reflecting the current re-opening of many organizations and facilities. Another 32 percent said August-September.

The share of all AV providers indicating they’ve experienced revenue declines the past seven days reached 46 percent this week, the highest that figure has been. Providers saw an average decline of 17 percent over the past two weeks, with the most commonly cited estimates in the 6 percent to 30 percent range.

When we asked AV provider respondents what share of their staff reductions were permanent layoffs as opposed to furloughs, our analysis indicated the average was 22 percent, up from 18 percent last week and 14 percent the week before. Overall, throughout the pandemic, just over one-third of AV provider respondents consistently reported their companies have laid off/furloughed staff at some point during the ordeal. For the past seven days, 13 percent said their companies laid off/furloughed staff, a short-term measure that bottomed out at 9 percent on May 20.

The bulk of AV providers and end-user customers continues to report they’re operating at a reduced capacity (65 percent and 78 percent, respectively). The share of AV providers at full capacity is 24 percent, up from 22 percent last week. One AV provider reported “getting close to projects coming back online.”

Looking at the positives, 42 percent of AV end users said they’d seen a resumption of projects over the past seven days, a sizable jump from 35 percent last week and only 30 percent the week before. As societies open, preparing to get back to work is an important first step.

Among AV providers, 40 percent reported a resumption of projects over the prior week, 45 percent fielded more inquires, and 15 percent said in-person meetings had resumed—up from 11 percent. And despite trending data indicating layoffs and furloughs, 16 percent of AV providers said their companies had done some hiring the past seven days.

To check out the full details of the most recent Impact Survey, click here.

For more news from Sound & Communications, click here.

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