“With the economy slowing and the return to in-person boom mostly exhausted, Pro AV growth seems to be settling into a moderate expansion phase.” Or not! The introductory sentence for the February index report does not seem quite so certain with the March data in hand.
This update saw the AV Sales Index (AVI-S) leap from 56.6 in February to 66.0 in March. An increase of 9.4 is rare, and a level as high as 66 is uncommon. It’s great news. But to keep it in perspective: Anytime a significant change happens without a clear explanation, you have to be skeptical of its informational value.
The shift may be noise rather than signal. Especially given that March was a month with meaningful economic turbulence in the form of several bank failures, it seems wisest to discount some of this change as a lucky one-off. That said, it’s still good news.
For example, though luck may have driven it so high, it does shift expectations upward for April relative to what they would have been after February. In addition, if April comes in hot, too, that will be more trustworthy than if the mark came out of nowhere the way the March figure did. Here’s hoping for more of this same positivity going forward!
[Taste the Rainb-over-IP? AVIXA, Skittles, and Planning for AVoIP]
In September 2022, we began to track the top issue for our Insights Community via a multiple-choice question. This augments the open-ended question where respondents share the factors having the biggest impact on their business that month.
Unsurprisingly, supply constraints (i.e., delay and lack of availability) have been the top issue since we started asking. However, this question also reveals a trend of improvement over time. In September, 49% of respondents highlighted supply constraints as the top issue; this month, that percentage was only 36%. No single other issue has risen substantially or stands out as a clear second. Hiring new employees is commonly cited, and recession/business cycle has become a more common selection, but outside of supply constraints, the responses are diverse.
Unsurprisingly, the AV employment market does not show the volatility observed in sales. While the AVI-S jumped almost 10 points, the AV Employment Index (AVI-E) crept up just 0.8. That said, the AVI-E remains at a very positive level. It had been higher than the AVI-S when sales grew more slowly earlier this year, and it’s lower now that sales are growing so rapidly.
[InfoComm 2023: AVIXA, HETMA Partner for Higher Education Program]
Going forward, we expect only further continuation of current AVI-E levels as companies seek to continue to fill out staffing shortages that developed during the rapid growth and difficult hiring market of 2022. That continuation becomes only more certain to the extent this month’s excellent AVI-S turns out to be a long-term signal rather than a one-off blip.
The Pro AV Business Index report is derived from a monthly survey of the AVIXA Insights Community, a research community of industry members that tracks business trends in commercial AV. For more information about joining the AVIXA Insights Community, visit www.avixa.org/AVIP.