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Executive Insight: State Of The Custom Install Industry: Forecasting 2021 Opportunities

2021 will continue to throw curve balls at the industry, but dealers can succeed by staying knowledgeable about new products and trends, and having quick access to product

This year, the industry changed beyond taking on new products and technology. Installers and manufacturers grappled with unexpected shakeups and challenges as in-demand experiences changed rapidly throughout the year. The shift to working, learning, and entertaining at home affected the technologies that were once hot in the market, requiring the industry to keep up with these new needs.

Top selling categories at the end of 2020. (image credit: PowerHouse Alliance)
Dennis Holzer, executive director, PowerHouse Alliance

Today, top product trends include home automation, home entertainment devices, and networking technology. But the custom install industry will need to keep a close eye on trends and be prepared to adapt in 2021 with new products and different installation practices. Data gathered from sales trends shows that networking product sales grew in 2021, and 54 percent of the PowerHouse Alliance distributor members located across the country predict the category to continue seeing strong growth throughout 2021. Consumers’ updates to home entertainment and office spaces increased demand for stronger home networks. Renovations and new lifestyle choices are also changing other categories, driving up interest in audio and entertainment features, as well as home automation.

15 percent of members said that 5G and 8K displays will also impact installations, further proving that home entertainment upgrades will remain a popular factor to consumers looking for ways to make the at home experience entertaining for the whole family. With more time spent at home, consumers are looking for ways to make upgrades to their current living room or entertainment areas to create the ideal environment for entertaining and streaming their favorite content. 5G and 8K displays will be in high demand as homeowners continue to make upgrades to the overall sound and video quality of their living room spaces.

(image credit: Samsung)

The industry changes in 2020 also impacted integrators’ buying and selling strategies. As a result of countrywide shutdowns and social distancing, integrators adapted to new safe ways to access the products they need for daily installations. Nationwide, online and delivery orders increased, as well as curbside pickup options, according to the group. As integrators take on new product lines and prepare for greater inventory of these growing categories, local stock of product will be critical to prevent delays installations due to shipping challenges.

In the beginning of the year, the PowerHouse Alliance members expect networking, home control/automation, and home entertainment sales to grow. The pandemic pushed more focus onto home technology, and homeowners are increasingly seeking professional help for household management. As manufacturers have worked hard to keep up with the spike in demand in a short time, dealers have the opportunity to gain new customers and increase their profits with upgrades to existing systems. 2021 will continue to throw curve balls at the industry. Dealers can succeed by staying knowledgeable about new products and trends, and quick access to add these to their repertoire and clients’ installations.

About Dennis Holzer, Executive Director, PowerHouse Alliance
Since joining the PowerHouse Alliance in 2009 as executive director, Dennis leads its 11 distributor members in dealer communication, industry outreach, and vendor management. Dennis also oversees the development and logistics of, A2V, the high-quality house brand of custom speakers, subwoofers, and audio/video accessories, available exclusively through PowerHouse Alliance distributor members. Dennis represents an overseeing eye of the residential and commercial AV, security, surveillance, IT, smart home, networking, home entertainment, and consumer electronics industries. 

See also: Executive Insight: 5G Almost Makes It To Mainstream