ORLANDO, FL—With the timing of a return to economic growth seemingly resting as much on sentiment as on hard numbers, InfoComm’s regular Economic Snapshot Surveys are being keenly watched by AV industry insiders. The July 2009 Economic Snapshot, details of which were released during InfoComm’s Orlando tradeshow last month, offered up some troubling headline statistics.
In particular, the InfoComm Performance Index (IPI) dropped to 5.94. The IPI represents AV professionals’ assessment of how their business has performed over the past six months, and how it is likely to perform in the coming six. A maximum score of 10.0 would equate to ‘record growth and profits’, while 1.0 would indicate impending (or indeed actual) bankruptcy
So, while the July figure of 5.94 still counts as a ‘fair’ rating, it is significantly down on respondents’ expectations as reported in the January Economic Snapshot Survey, which came in at 6.46. Interestingly, however, almost all segments are predicting an increase in IPI over the next six months. In terms of company size, the most optimistic AV businesses are the smallest, while when it comes to business type, those with the rosiest view are consultants. The most pessimistic, unsurprisingly, are rental and staging companies.Duffy Wilbert, SVP of membership at InfoComm International, believes that AV is ‘a lagging indicator’ of the health of the overall economy, and that the optimism of those consultants is indeed a sign of ‘green shoots’ to come. “Consultants gave us an IPI prediction of 6.7 for this latest survey,” Wilbert said, “and that’s an important number because of all the people who participate, these guys are the farthest out in terms of project developments.”
The full July Economic Snapshot is available as a free download on the InfoComm website.