SSN News Poll gauges state of the industry

Majority of respondents see continued growth for 2019
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Friday, January 25, 2019

YARMOUTH, Maine—As we reflect on 2018, this month's news poll gauges the overall state of the industry. The majority of News Poll respondents are bullish on 2019 with 85 percent saying that they see continued growth. In total, 72 percent said they expect “continued strong growth,” while 14 percent said, “yes, but not as strong as 2018,” and another 14 percent said they do not expect to see the same growth in 2019.

While many see strong growth for the industry, several respondents mentioned a mix of both new opportunities and new challenges for 2019.

“We are forecasting modest revenue growth for 2019. About the same growth trajectory as 2018, and down from past 5 year growth average,” Vince Raia, president, EMC Security, wrote in. “The industry is experiencing new competitive players and offers entering at a faster pace than available market is expanding. In the short term, this will mean more competition for available customers, and will result in slower growth for many that are not willing to invest additional marketing expense and accept increased customer acquisition cost.”

He continued, “Buyers, armed with the Internet, are in a position to quickly compare these ever-increasing offers and use this knowledge to extract better deals and pricing from companies. Due to the speed and complexity of all of these new offers, there is an opportunity to help the customer sort through these offers, and position their company, with a clear and concise message to win business.”

Another respondent said, “2019 will be an interesting year for the industry as we expect to see some economic correction from the previous years as well as continued pressure on residential security from industry disruptors.”

Omar Taveras, COO, Fluent Home, noted, “The main challenge is taking advantage of all the awareness around smart home, security, and DIY to obtain new customers outside of the traditional customer base while not losing customers to the new entrants.”

Another respondent sees DIY as more of a disrupter, noting, “With the advent of DIY systems I see the industry faltering due to the reliability of the infrastructure of the Internet. The misrepresentation of these DIY systems actually is a disservice to the public at large.”

When asked about hiring plans for 2019, 64 percent said they are looking to add several more people, with 7 percent planning on hiring “just a few” and 29 percent saying they are not planning on hiring in 2019.

One respondent summed it up nicely: “We could use 7-10 technicians! A lot of work that we cannot install fast enough!”

Interestingly, respondents were split on what their key challenges are heading into 2019, with 43 percent saying that “finding and keeping new talent/employees” is the top challenge and another 43 percent choosing “adapting to new technologies.” The remaining 14 percent chose “having enough working capital” as the top challenge.

“We find that both ‘finding and keeping new talent/employees’ (retention/keeping tenured top performers) is tied closely to one of the other key challenges you offer: ‘adapting to new technologies, trends,’” noted one respondent. “Connected/intelligent, IoT, cloud offerings work as a key differentiator for both employees that are seeking to move to new organizations that are more progressive and for our employers in the technology/software and systems space who recognize that the pace of development has exceeded the talent on their team. Both groups see this as a limiting factor to accomplish their goals ... either personally or for their organizations.”

Another challenge for some is having enough working capital for 2019, with one respondent noting, “The channel migration to a more total security solution is happening and the momentum is moving quickly. We hope we have the working capital to take advantage of the opportunities.”