CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Despite economic challenges during the past two years, 54 percent of integrators overall have a more optimistic view of 2010 than 2009, according to the Market Intelligence Briefing (MIB) report.
Conducted by the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the report titled "Commercial-Residential Crossover in the Electronic Systems Industry," examines opportunities, challenges and perspectives of commercial and residential integrators.
Additionally, 60 percent of integrators involved in both the commercial and residential markets were slightly more optimistic, expecting a more positive 2010, the study states.
While the complexity and specialization of systems and services can differentiate commercial from residential projects, these industry segments often intersect at the technological, design and information technology levels. Slightly more than half of those surveyed in the MIB report are involved in both residential and commercial projects.
The top three revenue venues for commercial integrators are corporate facilities; restaurants, retail facilities and shopping malls; and K-12 schools, according to the report. Among these categories, this year's survey respondents gave the highest ranking to retail venues. The increase highlights areas of crossover between commercial and residential integrators because the technologies and services used for retail projects correlate with tools used by integrators working on residential projects.
The single-family detached housing market is the most popular venue for residential work and was cited by 92 percent of the respondents as their most significant residential venue, the study reports. The remodel/retrofit arena was selected by 58.9 percent of respondents as providing the single most significant residential market value among all survey respondents, notwithstanding the company's size or level of residential market involvement.
Furthermore, the report shows there is still a significant difference between residential and commercial integrators in revenue-generating applications. For example, home theater, automation and multi-room A/V are the top applications for those surveyed who are involved with the residential segment. Conversely, commercial integrators rank audio (fixed installation, live sound), A/V (display technology, interface control), video, and life-safety as their top applications.
Commercial and residential integrators alike recognized the economy's effect on their companies, identifying an improving economy as an opportunity to increase business. However, the economy has also hindered financing for new projects and increased competition for both commercial and residential contractors. But, more than half (55 percent) of residential contractors see an increased demand in the retrofit market as one of their top market opportunities. A depressed housing market and lower market demand by commercial customers are also challenges for these sectors.
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