Perhaps the most surprising strength of the Dutch economy is the country’s aptitude for exporting food and agricultural products, in particular fruit and vegetables, due in no small part to its technological prowess and commitment to R&D.
Although food makes up a large part of the Netherlands’ exports it is also a diverse and varied economy, not over-reliant on one particular sector. This could go some way to explaining how it continues to punch above its weight, despite the questions that hang over the eurozone as a whole.
Onto the results of our survey into its installed AV marketplace: the general air is one of cautious optimism, with most respondents reporting their level of confidence in the sector is the same if not higher than it was six months ago.
When asked about the vertical markets showing promise, digital signage and the corporate sector appear to be in the best position to grow. The retail industry and sports venues also look set for growth, while performing arts venues and education are finely poised with respondents split. The worship market, similar to our results from Belgium last month, is the only market where no respondents are predicting growth and a significant number expecting stagnation or retraction.
The air of optimism seems less tempered when applied to the respondents’ own companies, as a significant majority are confident their revenues will either stay the same or grow by 5% or more.
When asked about issues of concern to the business, the not uncommon complaint about lowest price winning out over best value is echoed here. “Cheapest product wins, with the minimal functionality. There is no room to offer a higher quality or better solution,” said one distributor. This issue also resurfaced when respondents were asked about the one thing they would like to change about how the install market in the Netherlands operates. The other often-cited business concern was that of falling margins.
That brings us to the advice respondents would offer to manufacturers looking to enter the AV install market in the Netherlands. Another distributor suggested targeting a niche, as the market is already pretty full. An integrator emphasised the importance of manufacturers finding the right partners to add value.
Looking at integrators hypothetically entering the market, the advice is about collaboration and cooperation with other companies. In contrast to the suggestion offered to manufacturers about finding a niche, one respondent said: “Try to cover as many disciplines as possible and offer complete solutions, not just the AV solution.”
On the whole, the picture of the AV installation market in the Netherlands appears to be one of optimism from the integrators and distributors on the frontline. While there are gripes with aspects of the industry, these are by no means unique to this market.