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Flat Is Indeed the New Up

InfoComm's latest Economic Snapshot Survey show industry sentiment bottomed out last year. Now AV pros are holding steady in hopes that business will improve.

In October, infocomm international published its sixth biannual Economic Snapshot Survey, designed to gauge the perceived economic health of the pro AV industry. The previous study came out in February. According to the newest research, AV professionals feel as good about their business prospects as they did six months earlier, which was significantly better than they felt in 2009, when scores for InfoComm's benchmark Performance Index bottomed out.

Researchers for the industry association ask respondents to describe their company's performance and health on a 100-point scale where zero means bankruptcy and 100 is record growth. Moreover, they ask for a score looking backward six months and forward six months. The latest survey shows that, as usual, the industry is optimistic. Forward-looking assessments are rosier than those of past performance. Overall, the numbers indicate an industry treading water but by no means sinking. In fact, the share of people who said they are in much better financial shape than they were six months ago is now almost one in fivea big jump.

And there are other silver linings to the October report. InfoComm's Demand Index (IDI), which aims to measure spending by clients on AV systems, continues to tick upward. In October 2009, as the overall economy tanked, the forward-looking IDI was 47.4. In February 2010 it was up to 53.9 and by the most recent study, end users gave future spending a 61.5. Are more meetings and conferences in the offing? Could be. The rental and staging market, which always feels the brunt of an economic downturn, is apparently coming back. As researchers described it, "The gains forecasted by rental and staging respondents in February 2010 have largely occurred and the sector expects to continue to improve over the next six months." Good news.


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