Association News - Industry Worth Estimated £10 billion
Friday, 1 June 2001
PLASA has completed the first phase of its major industry research project.

The research will provide PLASA Members with an invaluable insight into their industry. As well as being able to estimate the global market size for professional lighting, sound, staging and AV products and services, the research also gives a very detailed picture of the market in the UK. For the first time, PLASA has information about the value of the product sectors, how fast they are growing and the size and growth of the various vertical sectors into which its members sell.

Was the research really necessary? Matthew Griffiths, MD of PLASA believes so: "We have over 400 members, but until now, we haven’t been able to say very much about the nature of the industry that we represent." With members’ interests straddling four key product sectors - lighting, sound, AV and staging - and selling to an even wider range of market sectors, the lack of a single source of information can be no great surprise. Griffiths continues: "Building an accurate picture of the market for professional entertainment technology products and services through existing research was virtually impossible. We had to commission our own."

The findings certainly enable the Association to say some very precise things about its members collectively and the nature of the industry as a whole.

The main uses for the research are:
- to talk to Government bodies convincingly about the industry; particularly with the DTI and Trade Partners looking to identify the support that can be expected both in the UK and overseas.
- to provide PLASA members with accurate information on the total size of the market sectors that they sell to, indicate which are growing fastest and enable them to compare their own business with the overall industry and the product sector to which they belong.
- to identify the main areas of concern from members in terms of recruitment, training, marketing, research and development, so that the Association can respond positively and appropriately.

Building an accurate picture of an industry which spans so many different product sectors and vertical user sectors created its own headaches. Trevor Wilkinson, MD of Business Diagnostics (the agency which, in conjunction with BMRB, conducted the research), explains: "We were very concerned to make sure that the findings were robust and valid. With a brand-new exercise such as this, with nothing to benchmark our own findings against, there was a very real risk that the results would contain an unacceptable degree of error. In the end, through a combination of detailed interviews with PLASA Members, cross-referenced with interviews with top industry journalists and again cross- referenced with published findings from earlier exercises, I’m confident the findings present as accurate a picture of PLASA’s industry as it is possible to get."

The Association plans to repeat the exercise every 12 months, enabling it to build up ever-more accurate trend information. A quick flick through the 119-page report reveals that it estimates the respective size by revenue of PLASA’s four main product sectors: light, sound, AV and staging; gives growth figures for this year and next across the four product sectors; breaks the sectors down into sales and rental; includes information on revenue from the provision of services such as installation, design and servicing; sizes the target market sectors and indicates which are the healthiest and the fastest growing; includes information on average company size by staff, investment in training, R&D and marketing.

Members who took part in the survey will shortly receive a free 22-page copy of the overview, together with the opportunity to buy the detailed sections at a subsidized price. Members who didn’t, will still be able to get hold of a free copy of the overview, but must complete the 2001 questionnaire first and also make a firm undertaking to contribute t

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