Great news from AVIXA’s latest Pro AV Business Index: sales growth is strengthening. At 61.3, the March AV Sales Index (AVI-S) is at its highest level since 2019. Much acceleration and growth are needed to see AV return to its pre-pandemic levels, but this month is a significant move in the right direction.
A close reading of the survey data shows room for further acceleration. Though commenters highlighted developments such as approaching returns to in-office activity and increased in-person education rates, the bulk of the comments continued to negatively assess current conditions. While this may seem like a pessimistic finding, AVIXA analysts see it as motivation for optimism. If a 15-month high is possible while so many respondents still feel substantially held back by COVID-19, much higher growth rates must still be achievable. That said, it will take time for such acceleration to take place. Do not be surprised if next month’s growth is modestly slower than this month’s.
“On April 11, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell asserted that we are at an economic inflection point. That’s true for AV, too,” said Peter Hansen, economic analyst, AVIXA. “The recovery is taking hold, and growth is accelerating. Spring is too soon, but we expect to see record highs in AV sales growth rates by the end of the summer.”
Somewhat less bright than the AVI-S number was the AV employment index (AVI-E). At 51.8, the March AVI-E now shows slightly slower growth than February, which itself was only modest growth. This so-so result is not to be ignored, since the slow and deliberate nature of employment decisions gives them greater weight than more volatile sales numbers. That said, slow and deliberate also makes them a lagging indicator, meaning the AVI-E doesn’t yet reflect the latest accelerations in the vaccine rollout. As with the AVI-S, AVIXA analysts are optimistic for future acceleration. That optimism is reinforced by the highly positive U.S. jobs report for March, which revealed that the economy added 916,000 jobs, its strongest performance since August 2020. Our economy remains over 10 million jobs below where it would have been without the pandemic, but the March number is the kind of growth needed to see us avoid a prolonged and painful recovery.
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. The report comprises two diffusion indexes: the AV Sales Index (AVI-S) and the AV Employment Index (AVI-E). In each case, an index above 50 indicates an increase in sales or employment activity.
Visit www.avixa.org/AVindex to access the free monthly Pro AV Business Index reports and learn more about the methodology. For more information about joining the AVIXA Insights Community, visit www.avixa.org/AVIP.