Pro AV and the Pandemic: A Clarified Perspective

By Sean Wargo
Senior Director of Market Intelligence

As they say about the weather in many parts of the continental US, wait a bit and it will change. Or in the case of industry outlooks and forecasts, with time things come into sharper focus. So it is with AVIXA’s Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis (IOTA), the AV industry’s estimations for size and growth. What was already a somewhat dire summary of the pandemic’s effects on pro AV revenues, now more clearly shows the depth of the scarring that occurred. Here are the specifics.

On June 1st at 1:55 pm CET, Peter Hansen and I will be sharing some of our outlook for pro AV as part of the ISE Digital event. Due to the timing of the session, the revenue numbers we share are based upon forecasts created during the early stages of the pandemic. At that point things were dire but optimism about a late 2020 improvement remained. Plus, the first quarter was strong, laying a foundation for good growth for the year. As we all know now, things did improve in pro AV during the last month or so of 2020, but not enough to correct a deep impact on our industry.

The short of the story is that 2020 revenue declines were much greater than originally forecast. Initial expectations were around an 8% drop from the 2019 peak, leaving global volumes at around $239B or $20B less than the year prior. The updated figures, which are scheduled for release around the middle of June 2021, show a decline of 17% across all regions of the globe, putting the final year estimate at $213B. This represents an industry that is $45B smaller than the previous year. Clearly, at that rate, businesses across the spectrum were impacted, with some even closing their doors, as we did see throughout the year in our industry surveys.

The good news is steeper declines often mean higher rates of growth as things improve. This too is true of the forecast revisions. Growth in 2021 is now expected to be 8.5%, up from 6.7% in the previous version. The story gets even better from there as 2022 growth reaches 11.1% versus only 5.7%. This puts the industry on a strong path of recovery, such that in many parts of the world we see new records for revenues by 2022.

Recovery is by no means an evenly distributed phenomenon, however, just as the virus itself was not uniform in its impacts. While APAC and North America continue to follow the expected trajectory of a 2022 return to peak revenues, Europe and South America now appear to be more likely to return to true growth by 2023. Even within all of those regions, some areas are at different paces. Perhaps most notable there is India, which only now is feeling the worst of the pandemic throes. For more about each of these stories, we encourage companies to obtain access to AVIXA’s full IOTA reports.

A similar story is visible within the underlying vertical markets that purchase AV products and services, as well as the solutions they require for their businesses. While IOTA has a deep level of data here, a brief look shows markets like hospitality, cinema, and venues saw deeper declines than initially forecasted. Live events and fixed performance/ entertainment solutions also suffered more keenly than previous estimates would suggest. In all cases, the theme of steep upward trajectories during the recovery also holds.

AVIXA will continue to share highlights from our latest research on the pandemic impacts with our members and audiences across a number of platforms this year, including at our own return to in-person at InfoComm 2021 in Orlando this October. As noted above, the full results are available for sale as well. Please take a look at for more information or reach out to your member services representative. In the meantime, here’s to strength, health, and prosperity for all in our industry as we emerge from the darkest days of the COVI-19 pandemic. We hope to see you in person soon!


Sean Wargo
AVIXA, Senior Director of Market Intelligence

Sean Wargo is Senior Director of Market Intelligence for AVIXA. He is responsible for helping AVIXA realize its strategic goal to become the authoritative source for market intelligence in the AV industry through data capture, analytics expertise, insight delivery, and world-class market research.  Sean was formerly the Vice President of Research at BDS Marketing, LLC and Director of Industry Analysis at the Consumer Electronics Association.