By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The custom-installation business climate is getting warmer, according to a survey of installers conducted by CEDIA.
A total of 83 percent of CEDIA members surveyed in June said their business was improving moderately or greatly over 2003, up from 71 percent who used those terms in last year’s survey. This year’s survey also found that installation businesses will do a little more hiring compared to last year.
In a separate July survey, installers reported that distributed audio and home theater were their two biggest sales segments in the second half of 2003 and that the two categories offered the highest profit margins per job. A majority of CEDIA members in the survey also said they expect 2004 growth in all categories but telecom and security.
Here’s what the surveys found:
Business climate: Business has improved a great deal over last year, the June survey found.
A total of 58 percent of respondents said their business this year has “improved greatly” from 2003, up from only 18 percent of respondents who last year described their business in those terms. A total of 25 percent said their business was “improving moderately” this year, whereas 53 percent used those terms in last year’s survey.
This year, a fraction of a percent said their business is getting worse or much worse compared to 8 percent who used those terms in last year’s survey. A total of 16 percent called their business “about the same (within 3 percent of 2003 revenue).
The results are based on responses from 232 companies, up 23 percent from last year’s survey. Most of the companies — 218 — are U.S.-based. The rest are in Canada.
Hiring plans: Despite greater growth perceptions, almost the same percentages — 74 percent compared to last year’s 73 percent — said they plan to increase staff size in the following calendar year, according to the June survey. Those who plan to hire, however, will hire slightly more people on average.
Profit categories: In a separate July survey that generated 193 responses, installers reported that distributed audio and home theater were their two biggest sales segments in the second half of 2003 and the two categories offering the highest profit margins per job.
In ranking product sales from highest (one) to lowest (eight), installers gave distributed audio the highest average rank of 2.16, followed by home theater (2.34), audio/video (3.23), distributed video (4.12), home networking (5.15), telecommunications (5.27), lighting controls (5.31) and security (6.1).
In ranking product segments by gross percentage margin, distributed audio, home theater, and audio/video came out on top again with average ranks of 2.09, 2.53 and 3.84, respectively. They were followed by lighting controls (3.97), distributed video (4.11), home networking (5.1), telecommunications (5.24) and security (6.18).
Great expectations: In the 193-response survey, CEDIA found that a majority of installers expected 2004 growth in all categories but telecom and security, two categories that aren’t offered by a large number of respondents. Not all respondents carried all of the categories listed in the survey.
All told, 70 percent of installers forecast 2004 growth in home theater sales, followed closely by distributed audio sales.
Lighting controls, home networking and audio/video sales were each forecast by about 55 percent of installers to grow in 2004.How’s Business?
|About the same||11%||16%|
|Worse or much worse||8%||&1%|
|Increasing Greatly||Increasing Moderately||Total|
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