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Leisure and commercial loudspeaker install markets to be ‘most resilient’ through Covid

Futuresource Consulting this week released commentary from its Professional Loudspeaker Market report that points to continued challenges for the live and touring markets as restrictions persist, while installed leisure and commercial segments look set to prove most resilient

Earlier this week, Futuresource Consulting released a selection of insight from its Professional Loudspeaker Market report that once again highlighted the continuing plight of the live events and touring markets that have borne the impact of Covid more than most others.

The outlook for commercial and leisure installs is more positive, with the former achieving the highest levels of growth in 2019 than any other vertical and forecasted to prove the most resilient to the current and ongoing market conditions.

The report, which outlines current value and volume sizing as well as regional and vertical forecasts through to 2024, summarises that despite existing and coming pressures the rate of recovery is still expected to be significant, with many verticals completely recovering well within the forecast period (through to 2024). “That said, there will be many strains in the mid-term, with all channel companies, suppliers and end-users being severely impacted,” the commentary reads.

“Overall, the market will have lost a significant amount of potential compared with previous forecasts, with little support from governments to keep channel and the events industries intact. Brands will have to carefully navigate this crisis and push resource into positioning products for markets which will see the most positivity over the next few years. For those that can weather the storm, demand will continue to pick up moving through 2021, and in 2022 the total professional loudspeakers market will eventually reach pre-2019 levels.”

Figures released in the report show that the market for professional loudspeakers posted global revenues of nearly $3 billion in 2019, an increase of almost seven per cent. Naturally, however, a major theme of this year’s analysis was the impact of Covid-19 and its significant effects on forecasts moving forwards. On the impact on the most adversely affected sectors, live and touring, Futuresource Pro Audio Analyst James Kirby said, “Over recent years, the touring industry has experienced consistent growth, driven by a range of factors, including the music streaming economy, an overall increase in the use of events as promotional tools, and significant growth in consumer demand for live events.

“However, with concerts having been cancelled worldwide for some time, large production companies and brands within the industry have faced significant losses and cuts in staff over the past six to eight months,” he explained.

The plight faced by the live events industry and lack of government support has been brought to mainstream attention by campaigns such as the #WeMakeEvents movement, which has called on governments to support an industry that contributes billions to the economy, but because of the nature of restrictions will be the last to return to any form of normality. “That said, the return of the market to previous levels is expected over the coming years following effective treatments or a vaccine and will be driven forwards by the underlying societal demand for memorable and shared experiences, which has become entrenched in modern culture,” added Kirby.

Encouragingly, the installed leisure segment, which supports many of the same event applications, is showing early signs of improvement and investment, according to the report. “As well as being a more positive area for touring brands during the crisis, the installed events space is full of venues, big and small, that are beginning to invest in audio ready for the return of demand over the coming years,” says Kirby. Although this market still faces many challenges, with revenues down significantly in 2020, Kirby comments that, “it has become key to sustaining business for manufacturers and is showing much more stability than the rental market, with more recent improvements indicating early positivity for the broader events markets.” However, he also states that, “positivity varies significantly by sub-vertical, and more diversified industries with greater cashflow, such as worship, sports and corporate events, are demonstrating significantly more market confidence.”

The installed commercial market is expected to be the most resilient throughout the pandemic period. The report explains that this is because of the “greater ratio of larger projects in this vertical, but also comparatively strong performance from some key sub-verticals, such government projects, higher education, and corporate conferencing”.

Kirby explained that until this year, the market was demonstrating consistent growth driven by PA/VA technology, background/foreground music and commercial events spaces. “The EU regulation of EN54 has made a significant impact on the European PA/VA market, and spill over effects of this standard have continued to impact the rest of the world. This is especially the case in the Middle East but has also been witnessed in Asia and the Americas. In Europe, some countries have even implemented in their building technical code that any new building over 300 people in capacity must have an EN54 compliant system installed.”

More information on this report can be found on the Futuresource Consulting website, and further information can be sought by contacting leon.morris@futuresource-hq.com