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Purchasing Practices In Pro AV

Exclusive research on the purchase plans and buying behaviors of AV professionals.

How do pro AV professionals purchase products? Exclusive research — presented by Pro AV magazine and conducted by independent research firm Paramount Research — reveals what vertical markets are the hottest, who really makes the purchasing decisions, and which products they plan to purchase in the next 12 months. Find out the most critical factors for selecting products and what factors contribute to the decision to drop a product line. Crafted to provide detailed information on purchasing practices in the pro AV industry, results of this research will help you benchmark your decisions against your peers.


What type of organization do you work for?

The majority of respondents (63 percent) identify their organizations as a contractor, but only one in six or 15 percent describe their organization as a dealer. This is consistent with the well-documented (and much discussed) trend of moving away from “box sales” toward service-oriented integration and installation firms. For our survey, the description “contractor” includes systems integrators and designers/installers of audio, video, and security systems.

What is your primary job function?

Nearly 70 percent of the respondents work in executive management, which includes technology/engineering management and staff. A total of 94 percent of Pro AV readers purchase all or some of the products used in their jobs or recommend products to others. These findings may be related to several basic traits of the typical pro AV firm. Most firms are fairly small — an average of 32 employees. In smaller firms, people wear many hats, and management is likely to have “risen from the trenches” and continues to be involved in day-to-day design and technical work.

How does your business break down?

Overall, the largest percentage (48 percent) of contractors' business comes from new installs, with another 20 percent contributed by upgrades and retrofits. Only (14 percent) comes from equipment sales and slightly less (13 percent) from equipment rentals. However, business focus varied based on the type of respondent. For example, while contractors generate the largest portion of their business from new installs, dealers (39 percent), distributors (73 percent), and manufacturers/manufacturers' reps (68 percent), indicated more of their business comes from equipment sales. The largest percentage of business for rental & staging companies comes from equipment rentals (76 percent), indicating that these types of organizations may be the most “single-market” focused among our industry (although this too may be changing).

What is your primary vertical market?

When Pro AV readers list their primary and secondary vertical markets, corporate business ranks highest (74 percent), followed by education (59 percent). What's more significant is that all respondents selected multiple secondary markets, indicating that there is no such thing as “specialization” in pro AV. Respondents who reported education as their primary vertical market are most likely to indicate corporate (74 percent), government (74 percent), and house of worship (61 percent) as their secondary markets. Those who indicated corporate as their primary market are most likely to also work in education (70 percent) and/or government (60 percent). What is clear from these findings is that with few exceptions, the pro AV industry encompasses multiple market segments.

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