When we published our 2019 World Report on Physical Security at the end of last year, we forecasted an annual growth rate of 15% from 2020 to 2024 for both Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) and Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS).
But by the middle of April 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused over 160,000 deaths globally and taken a wrecking ball to the world economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently announced the recession will drag global GDP lower by 3% in 2020, but its managing director now thinks the gloomy outlook could be too positive. And should the pandemic last through 2020, the world economy would emerge with modest gains in 2021 in a sluggish rebound.
This new cycle of recession will certainly reduce overall demand for physical security products in 2020. Our current best estimate is that the 1st quarter of 2020 will show a decline of 5%, caused by reduced demand in Asia, and specifically China, which is the largest single market for Video Surveillance in the world. Further declines in the next 3 quarters of 2020 will almost certainly follow.
However, the COVID-19 outbreak will force suppliers to radically rethink how they operate their business. And like with every crisis, there will be opportunities for those Physical Security companies that are prepared to adapt to the new reality.
The Physical Security sector will have a role to play in helping get companies back to work after this initial lockdown phase. Be that through epidemic control technology, thermal imaging technology to identify fevers or other innovations.
In a challenging economy, customers will be demanding more value from their investments and will be less willing to commit to upfront capital expenditure; making cloud services even more attractive than 6 months ago. Also ACaaS companies like Brivo, Openpath and Camio (VSaaS) have been quick to demonstrate the value of their technology by showing the drop in building occupancy numbers and how to implement social distancing compliance.
The major suppliers of ACaaS / VSaaS have been slowly building up their businesses, and in the last couple of years their patience and persistence has been paid off. They are now in a position to deliver a cost effective service to their clients, now more appropriate than ever.