Our latest national survey polls opinion about the installed AV market in the country with the largest economy in Europe.
According to May’s monthly report from the German finance ministry, the country’s economy remains on a strong growth path. This is primarily being fuelled by strong domestic demand; later this year, however, weaker exports are expected to slow down this growth. Tax receipts – from income tax and from private spending – are on the rise, which is enabling the government to increase public spending on infrastructure and refugee assistance without incurring new debt.
A very positive picture, then, and one that is for the most part reflected in the responses to our latest survey of countries’ installed AV markets. A sizeable majority of respondents believed that levels of confidence in the German installation sector were higher than six months ago – and ‘no change’ was the next most popular answer. Similarly, when it came to respondents’ own businesses, just over half felt that their revenues would grow by more than 5%, while a smaller number expected a smaller degree of growth.
The next part of the questionnaire presented a series of potential worries for businesspeople, and asked survey participants to choose the one that caused them most concern. The most frequently cited issue was falling margins: this was attributed to both internet-based competitors, and the influence of companies from the IT market that are used to working with lower margins. One distributor commented: “There is price pressure in the market due to competition and margins offered by manufacturers, but we need to maintain a very high level of service and support, which is costly.”
We then asked our respondents for the advice they would offer companies entering the German installation market. One suggested that new manufacturers should look very closely at their customer base and/or distribution channels, in order to maintain a clear pricing structure. Another advised “work with a qualified, knowledgeable distributor”.
When it came to advice for integrators, most responses were related to quality – either in terms of hiring or training the best staff, or by prioritising quality of work rather than offering low prices.
Finally, we asked what people would choose if there was one thing they could change about how the German installation market operates. Our favourite suggestion of these was “set up a common standard for quoting and installing” – which would certainly help to level the playing field by making it easier to evaluate projects on quality rather than just on price.