There are several positive signs in AVIXA’s latest COVID-19 Impact Survey: More companies operating at full capacity, project work is slowly resuming, thawing communication between providers and customers, and hints that revenue prospects may be stabilizing, even while—short-term—revenues are still declining.
But at the same time the industry is getting its feet under it, and as companies are starting to see a clearer picture of what’s ahead, more firms are taking difficult steps, including cutting staff and reducing salaries. In some respects, feedback indicates companies are getting a handle on demand and scaling to an appropriate level of operations.
This week, 59 percent of AV end-user respondents to the survey fielded June 9-10, said their companies had been impacted negatively by the pandemic in the last seven days. Roughly 57 percent of AV providers perceived a negative impact in the past week, down from 62 percent in the last survey and the first time that figure has fallen below 60 percent since AVIXA Market Intelligence began collecting impact data in March.
In the most recent Impact Survey, 28 percent of AV providers reported operating a full-capacity project load, up from 24 percent last week; 62 percent reported working at a reduced capacity.
Asked to predict when the bulk of their AV project work would resume, the largest share of AV end users (27 percent) said July, reflecting the cautious opening of economies around the world. Another 16 percent predicted August and 22 percent said September.
When those AV end users bring in providers to help execute, projects lag slightly. Only 12 percent of AV providers saw the bulk of their project work returning in July. Another 18 percent said August and 21 percent (the largest chare of AV providers) said September. This is, of course, hyper-regional. Many companies never ceased project work during the pandemic. Many more have restarted some projects in the past several weeks, even if it isn’t the bulk of their work.
Still, AV providers are making adjustments along the way to that next normal. In this week’s survey, 42 percent of all AV provider respondents said their companies had seen declining revenue over the past seven days, down slightly from 47 percent. Our analysis indicates that the average revenue hit over the past two weeks has been 20 percent.
Outside of North America, 58 percent of respondents reported declining revenue, a number that has increased. And according to a limited sample of live events professionals, live events companies continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic conditions, with 88 percent reporting reduced revenues over the prior week.
Among all AV providers in the survey, belt-tightening continues. About 38 percent reported layoffs/furloughs at some point during the pandemic to address declining revenues, up from 33 percent last week; and 43 percent reported reducing salaries, up significantly from 30 percent.
Reflecting steps taken in just the past seven days, 18 percent of AV providers reported staff reductions, the highest that figure has been since the beginning of May. Fortunately, overall, the reported share of staff reductions characterized as permanent layoffs dropped this week, to 15 percent from 21 percent.
To see the full Impact Survey, click here.
To see more news from Sound & Communications, click here.