2021 Access Control Deep Dive: Resi Market Stands Strong in Face of COVID
While the pandemic proved problematic in 2020, access control profits continued for many pros. SSI’s 2021 Access Control Deep Dive tells the full story.
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With the pandemic vaccines in full rollout as of this writing, the hope is that America’s collective COVID-19 immunity will be improved immensely. While to widely varied degrees this ordeal has left scarcely any aspect of life as we know it unscathed, the majority of those doing business in the electronic security industry are feeling especially thankful.
That’s because the decades-old adage that security is in demand when things are good because people are willing to spend money and also when things are bad because they want to safeguard what they have once again proved true during 2020. Time and time again, security has shown itself to be resistant if not immune to economic and societal crises.
Drilling down more finely to one of the leading security systems sectors, access control, the latest research backs up that premise with the market continuing to exhibit growth — albeit less robust than pre-pandemic.
Respondents to Security Sales & Integration’s 2021 Access Control Deep Dive survey indicated around 9% growth, but that is down 7 percentage points as compared to 2019 and off a whopping 16 points from the cumulative total of the past five years. Nearly one in five reported an actual decline for 2020.
For some, the pandemic in fact served to stimulate their access control business. That is because devices that control where people are permitted to go and when they do so — one of security’s fundamental and already most in-demand facets — were even more vital as contactless, contract tracing and occupancy monitoring solutions. Some of those trends will be more profound and longer lasting than others.
From an overall market perspective, solutions ranging from basic, single-door mechanical locks to sophisticated, multibuilding electronic and networked systems — and everything imaginable in between — have in recent years led to access control becoming one of the security industry’s most innovative and fastest growing sectors.
Integration with mobile devices and video surveillance, wireless products, biometrics, smart locks, and Cloud-based hosted and managed services are just some of the advances that have been generating more interest, use cases and profits.
Those technologies, products and applications, along with the opportunities they represent, are at the heart of SSI’s Access Control Deep Dive — the publication’s second dedicated research project into the sector.
The new study was conducted during March 2021 and included nearly 150 dealers and integrators from throughout the United States and Canada. In addition to the balanced geographical footprint, the study also drew respondents from a wide range of company sizes.
As well it spanned the residential, commercial and industrial access control markets — including projects, prices, margins, managed services, challenges and more.
The data further reflects the challenges faced within the commercial and industrial access segments due to pandemic-related budgeting shifts, lockdowns, shutdowns and the work-from-home movement. However, the findings also demonstrate how the latter produced a fairly strong year for residential access control. Only about one in 10 survey-takers said their sales were unaffected by the coronavirus.
A year from now, it’s likely that a relative return to normalcy for people and organizations will prove to be just the shot in the arm the access control (and security in general) industry needs to resume its rapid, pre-COVID ascent. For now, the market’s journey through this historic period unfolds through the graphs, lists and sidebars that follow.
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