The International Communications Industries Association, Inc.® (ICIA®) has announced the release of its 2004 Market Forecast Survey.

Several findings in the report reinforce other signs we’re seeing — the stock market, for example — of an improving business climate for the professional audiovisual (AV) industry. Anecdotal evidence encouraging an optimistic outlook for the coming year seems to be more fully warranted by the detailed market intelligence ICIA’s survey has gathered.

Above all, the report observes that “future trends are again quite positive,” with most of the companies that responded believing their revenues and profits will increase over the next three years. However, the survey covers a broad range of issues, beginning with earnings and profitability, and extending to members’ perceptions of important new products and trends. Here are the key findings the survey reveals:

Among responding companies, median revenue climbed from $2.6 million in 2002 to $3 million in 2003, jumping 9.1 percent, and is expected to grow another 14.1 percent to $3.5 million in 2004.

Respondents also reported significantly higher profits in 2003 over 2002, and expect this trend to continue in 2004. It should be noted that respondents were predominantly AV dealers and integrators, as well as a proportionately smaller number of independent design consultants.

These companies view the business/corporate market as the AV industry’s most significant category, accounting for an average 23 percent of revenues in 2003; however, the higher education market is perceived as very important, accounting for 14.9 percent of revenues. Government and military, meetings and events, worship and K-12 markets are also high on the radar.

New products and technologies singled out for having a positive impact on members’ businesses include videoconferencing, digital signal processing, control systems and devices, wireless devices, the growing convergence of AV systems and solutions, LCD projectors, and LCD and plasma displays.

Among trends the survey examined, respondents see as most positive the increased use of conferencing and collaboration technologies, the integration of AV systems into information technology (IT) environments, the growth of wireless technologies and larger displays, the spread of remote management and monitoring systems, and the growing residential market.

On the flip side, the trends most respondents see as having a negative impact include ‘mega-stores,’ Internet- and manufacturer-direct sales, lower priced equipment, especially projectors, and margin erosion in professional AV products.

By forecast or in person, there’s no substitute for looking and planning ahead. ICIA’s market surveys, which are continuing, are part of the association's effort to help the industry stay not just on top of the curve, but ahead of it.

Copies of the 2004 Market Forecast Survey may be purchased in the ICIA Online Store at www.infocomm.org or by calling Sales at 1-800-659-7469.

About the AV Communications Industry:

Educational facilities, government agencies, businesses, architectural firms and building owners rely on professionally designed, installed and produced AV systems for a variety of conferencing, communications, sales and advertising functions. The AV communications industry makes the technologies that support these functions possible, specifically the products and systems for visual display, audio production, interfacing and signal distribution, lighting, control systems, interactive display, remote video and web conferencing, as well as the cabling, connectors, and racks to tie them into a system. The AV industry interfaces with IT and telecommunications industries largely to transport the information that is presented using these AV technologies. AV solutions providers pursue ongoing training and development, including ICIA’s highly respected education and certification programs, to stay up on the latest AV technologies.

About ICIA:

The International Communications Industries Association, Inc.® (ICIA®) is the premier trade association for the professional audiovisual communications industry. ICIA is the founder of InfoComm, the conference and trade exposition for audiovisual communications professionals who come to learn about the latest technologies and available services as well as new and alternative applications. In early 2003, ICIA and two other associations -- CEDIA and NSCA -- launched Integrated Systems Events to serve their collective memberships in Europe and Asia. ICIA serves its worldwide membership as the pre-eminent provider of AV education, training and certification.

ICIA and its foundation, the International Communications Industries Foundation, Inc.® (ICIF®) established a market intelligence program in early 2003. The purpose of the program is to facilitate the process of finding relevant market information and increase the number of available market reports covering the AV industry. ICIA’s Market Intelligence program includes primary research, and also acts as a referral service to research conducted by market analyst partners. More information about this program is available under Market Intelligence at www.infocomm.org.

More information about the AV industry and ICIA can be found at www.AVolution.info and www.infocomm.org.