Business

AVIXA POV: COVID-19’s Impact On The Commercial AV Industry

AVIXA, COVID-19, Coronavirus

AVIXA’s weekly survey sheds light on effects to the industry.

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly spreads across the globe, many companies are bringing their business travel to a halt, postpone ing or canceling events, and increasing telework. Numerous industries, including the commercial AV industry, are feeling the effects that the pandemic has wrought.

To assess commercial AV trends, attitudes and perceptions during this global health crisis, AVIXA has begun to produce a weekly Impact Survey. We released the first report on March 20, and we publish a new edition every Friday. On average, the survey receives about 300 responses each week, representing integrators, designers, manufacturers, distributors, service providers, live-event companies and their customers (end users).

In the April 3 report, survey responses showed more signs that business is slowing across the board—not just in live events, where a limited survey sample has indicated, with near unanimity, that canceled projects/events and revenue declines have negatively affected their companies. Now, a greater share of all AV providers has reported declining sales and revenues as compared to previous surveys.

When AVIXA asked AV providers to cite the negative impacts on business over the last seven days, 67 percent pointed to revenue declines and 71 percent said slowing sales. Both those figures have been climbing week to week since AVIXA began the Impact Survey. In addition, 42 percent of AV providers said supply-chain disruptions have affected them; it’s worth noting that was the firs time that number had exceeded 40 percent.

For the March 27 survey, one AV provider reported that client access was the biggest challenge, as it affects the company’s ability to complete work and keep people employed. About 30 percent of AV providers (fielded March 30 to 31) said they’ve had to reduce staff over the past week.

Although a good portion of AV providers (19 percent) and end users (16 percent) said they don’t know when projects will come back online, the most common overall estimate was June. About 26 percent of AV providers and 24 percent of end users saw June as the month when project work might resume. Meanwhile, roughly one in fiv predicted May.

To their credit, AV professionals, as a group, are not usually pessimists. AVIXA has surveyed the industry for various research initiatives over decades, and, if there has been one word to describe general market sentiment—through economic expansion, recession and unforeseen hardship—it has been “optimistic.” AV professionals tend to be optimistic about their business prospects…optimistic that next month (or quarter, or year) will be stronger, regardless of the current challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on societies around the world might be challenging that tendency to look on the bright side, but many see a glimmer of hope.

Unsurprisingly, given the importance of telework technologies to people sheltered in place worldwide, the vast majority of survey respondents (about 90 percent) saw conferencing-and-collaboration solutions as being key to business over the next six months. Content distribution, including streamed content, was the second-most-mentioned solution area, registering 44 percent of AV providers and 38 percent of end users.

End users—the people and companies who embrace collaborative solutions to maintain operations, hold meetings or teach students—are in the thick of deployment and learning lessons. One said, “Remote work and virtual meetings are helping us to understand how well our teams work virtually and if our infrastructure can handle it.”

Although there are some areas of opportunity, many commercial AV companies are facing a degree of hardship. We, at AVIXA, are here to support the commercial AV industry now and always, and we would like to share some programs that might ease the burden during this difficult time. AVIXA has joined the Meetings Mean Business coalition, which is advocating to government agencies for relief for both the meetings and the live-event industry. AVIXA does not lobby, but, by joining coalitions like this, your voice will more clearly be heard on Capitol Hill. Meetings Mean Business is part of the U.S. Travel Association, which has a strong lobbying influence.

A new website, AVLiveAid (www.sndcom.us/av-live-aid), has valuable resources for the live-event community. In addition, there is a petition in support of federal-aid packages for the events industry; find it here: www.sndcom.us/federal-aid-live-events.

The Small Business Association (SBA) also provides guidance and resources that can help, such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, Access to Capital, Guidance for Businesses and Employers, SBA Products and Resources, and Local Assistance.

Lastly, we encourage you to join AVIXA’s Insight Community by visiting avip.avixa.org/home. That is the research group that participates in the weekly Impact Survey to report on how COVID-19 is affecting the AV industry. But, equally importantly, it’s a great on line community to discuss challenges and solutions during this time.

AVIXA will continue to compile helpful resources and publish them on www.avixa.org. As always, please connect with AVIXA at any time for support; visit www.avixa.org/contact.

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Sound & Communications: May 2020 Digital Edition
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