It’s all change in the Italian political world, but – as our latest national survey discovers – the country’s installed AV market looks to be somewhat more stable.
Following his failure to gain public support in a referendum for sweeping changes to the country’s constitution and parliamentary system, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi resigned in early December. Observers said this was likely to plunge the eurozone’s third largest economy into chaos. The defeat was a predictable one, as Renzi’s popularity had been declining for some time and the plebiscite was seen by many as a vote of no confidence in the PM.
Meanwhile – in fact, shortly before the nation made its way to the polling stations – we have been carrying out our own poll of players in the Italian installed AV market. The respondents to our survey appeared to be nearly all either optimistic or equivocal, with few naysayers. Nearly half thought general levels of confidence in the country’s industry were on a par with what they were six months ago, while the majority of the remainder believed them to be higher. There was a similar picture when we asked them how they felt their own companies were faring: a small majority felt that their revenues would rise over the next 12 months, but around a third thought that incomes would be flat.
Asked to choose from a list of issues the one that was of most concern to their businesses, nearly all of our respondents picked one of three answers. Equal first on the list were ‘clients going for lowest price rather than best value’ and ‘credit terms and other cashflow issues’, with ‘falling margins’ not far behind. Few respondents chose to add a comment to their answers, but one of those who did said: “In general, I often see a very low quality of installation, mainly due to a low level of education of technical staff employed.”
If these thoughts sound familiar, so too do our respondents’ wishes for the one thing they could change about the way the Italian installation market works: greater protection of dealers by manufacturers, and a way to raise awareness of technology among end-customers, were among the comments we received. There were some unusual results, though, when we asked about vertical market trends. Digital signage often tops the list in these national polls; but bars, clubs and restaurants put in a strong showing in second place – and education, which is generally a good performer, was second from the bottom here.