The decade ended on a high note for the pro AV industry. With AVIXA’s Pro-AV Business Index staying well above the no-growth mark of 50 in both 2018 and 2019, it’s a good time to take a moment and be grateful for the business environment the pro AV world has experienced in recent times.
December marked the fourth straight month of increasing sales growth, with the AV Sales Index clocking in at 62.3 in December. The slowest month in 2019 was September, at 59.5, and the fastest was August, at 63.9. The average for the year worked out to 61.6, which was lower than the 63.5 average in 2018. However, the previous year was less consistent, as it had a lower minimum month than 2019 and a higher maximum month.
“The prognosis for 2020 is looking sunny,” said Peter Hansen, economic analyst, AVIXA. “At this time last year, the stock market had just endured a double-digit dive by percentage and recession fears were top of mind. And yet the AV world grew as steadily as ever! The past two years have set a high bar, but we project business conditions to stay just as strong through this year.”
Trade uncertainty eases as Brexit negotiations have finally progressed in the UK Parliament. Brexit ambiguity has proven to be a pain point for AV buyers over the past several years, making businesses hesitant to make capital investments. The saga is not fully over as vital trade negotiations will continue through the year, but for now, the Brexit outlook is as positive as it has been since the initial referendum.
On the jobs front, 2019 ended with a U.S. unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, compared to 3.9 in 2018. Though unemployment was lower, wage growth was actually slower. This is a clear disappointment from most economic perspectives and a persistent puzzle for those who study the labor market. As AVIXA’s Macroeconomic Trends Analysis (META) shows, this apparent contradiction is present in AV too, where businesses have preferred to relax hiring standards and spend more time searching rather than giving out substantial raises. Meanwhile, our AV Employment Index showed continued growth in December with a score of 60.7. This pace was essentially level with November’s mark of 61.7, and up from the December 2018 score of 55.6.
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 actually 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 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 avixa.org/AVIP.