2021 Video Surveillance Deep Dive: Video Records 18% Growth Amid Virus

SSI’s Video Surveillance Deep Dive survey covers installations, technologies, prices, profits, verticals, and challenges from what turned out to be a historically tumultuous 2020.

2021 Video Surveillance Deep Dive: Video Records 18% Growth Amid Virus

If video was not already ubiquitous enough in American life the pandemic managed to make it even more the case as being on camera for meetings and basic communication made plain ol’ voice-only phone conversations seem quaint by comparison.

That may reap some dividends for security dealers and integrators down the line due to an overall higher comfort level with being on camera or videorecorded, but webcams are not professional surveillance equipment.

Although the work-from-home imperative brought Zoom and other video-conferencing platforms to the forefront, at the same time COVID-19’s negative impact was conversely felt within the video surveillance industry.

Among the findings of Security Sales & Integration’s 2021 Video Surveillance Deep Dive survey supporting that contention is the average number of monthly installations and gross profit margins fell as compared to the prior year.

The former declined an average of seven projects (across residential, commercial and industrial sectors) and the latter saw 11 points (-29%) shaved off its 2020 percentage. The average sales prices of commercial and industrial video systems also plunged.

Much of that is attributable to end-user clients’ shutdowns of offices and facilities along with the associated layoffs, furloughs, and delays and cancellations of security projects. When asked directly about the effect of the pandemic on the past year’s video surveillance business, nearly half the respondents rated it as being moderate to enormous.

Fewer than one in five said it was not impactful. Furthermore, while still exhibiting growth, as compared to recent years the market is reported to have grown 37% more slowly in 2021.

Even some of the areas where it was hoped the pandemic might boost business have been refuted by most of the survey’s results. For example, thermal imaging was broadly promoted to solve the issue of monitoring people’s temperatures before they entered buildings, but no significant bump was conveyed by responding dealers and integrators.

Cost and field accuracy as well as nonsecurity-based alternatives were likely among the sticking points that hindered wider adoption through the dealer/integrator channel.

Cloud-based solutions was another segment of the surveillance market that many anticipated would accelerate due to COVID-19 implications — in particular, enabling full offsite operations for customers.

Yet the Deep Dive data indicates dealers/integrators offering video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) declined by 12 percentage points and those selling it experienced 42% less growth than the previous year. One plus was per-camera monthly storage fees climbed 8%.

There are, however, some bright spots, particularly in the residential market (rated as the No. 1 video surveillance vertical) as for most of 2020 home offices became the norm.

The average sales price for a home video surveillance system rose severalfold and the number of cameras per deployment increased by eight units (53%).Pandemic aside, the research highlights other top surveillance sector challenges and concerns.

Turning back to Cloud-based services, among the leading issues were costs, business model and demand. From the end-user perspective relative to networked video surveillance solutions, cybersecurity, quality of service and network complexity were cited as the chief challenges.

Meanwhile, integrators say clients’ IT departments run interference on system deployments 77% of the time.

The third such study of its kind, the SSI 2021 Video Surveillance Deep Dive was conducted during April and included nearly 200 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 and years in business.

As well it spanned the residential, commercial and industrial video surveillance sectors — including projects, prices, margins, verticals, challenges, technologies and more.

Presently, with the end of the pandemic in sight and most industry observers expecting a boom of pent-up demand, next year’s Deep Dive figures to blow some of the 2021 numbers out of the water. In totality, in concert with steadily declining costs and swiftly emerging application use cases, video surveillance continues to represent one of the world’s most robust market opportunities.

No one is in a better position to capitalize than installing security dealers and systems integrators. However, in an open, competitive field and in the wake of the business ravages of the pandemic, that will prove truer for some than others. The greatest degree of success is predicated on key factors like leadership, management, marketing, talent, agility, efficiency, training, customer service, vendor partners, etc.

According to the study respondents, ease of installation, cost of hardware and brand recognition to the customer are the top three elements that help them sell more surveillance products. The detailed information that follows also includes dozens of verbatim comments given equipment suppliers direct guidance on how to best serve the video market.

View the 2021 Video Surveillance Deep Dive

Click here to download the Deep Dive as a PDF

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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