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2021: The Year of the Interactive Display in K-12 Education

The last 23 months have catapulted the word “unprecedented” into almost daily use, as the entire planet has reacted, and adapted to COVID-19.

In the K-12 Education space, the initial response, in 2020, was to acquire more personal devices for students, and our market research saw annual global sales of K-12 PCs/Tablets rise from a steady 33 million units per year to 50 million units in 2020.

With this immediate need, to some extent fulfilled, schools turned to other hardware and solutions also required to facilitate remote learning, a topic I covered earlier this year at Ed Tech Collaborative. The requirement to work from home resulted in a huge demand for peripheral devices to support teachers in either classroom-based or remote setting (mics, soundbars, speakers, document cameras, etc.).

Later in 2020, the ramp up in K-12 demand for Interactive Displays began. In Q3 2017/18/19, global sell-in volumes of Interactive Displays to K-12 Education hovered around the 570k level. In Q3 2020/21, Futuresource revealed that these volumes had risen by, on average, 24%.

The driver to this was/is the need to enable teachers to operate in a remote or hybrid environment, and therefore we saw, and are seeing:

  • Schools swapping out from IWBs to IFPDs
  • Schools adding new IFPDs (or even IWBs) into classrooms, or other communal spaces that previously had no such technology
  • Schools adding more, or purchasing for the first time, IFPDs on carts/trolleys
  • Stimulus from governments for Education technology spending (such as the USA and Germany)
  • Schools, having been closed for periods of time in 2020 and 2021, finding themselves with more spare money than would usually be the case and choosing to invest in new Interactive Displays.

From Q3 2020, the ‘perfect storm’ of semiconductor supply and container shipping issues started to bite, impacting on the ability of ODMs in Asia to supply Interactive Displays and pushing up the FOB prices paid to the ODMs. Unrelated issues also restricted 40 foot container availability, increased shipping and unloading times and spiked 40-foot container prices from Asia to North America or Europe by as much as 1,100%. In the case of a 40-foot container load of 86" IFPDs (40 per container), this put the price to ship each display up by as much as $500!

This inability, in some cases, to supply all of the booming demand from K-12 for Interactive Displays in 2021 has been a major bottleneck that has partially strangled the already impressive 26% uplift in global Interactive Displays sell-in volumes to K-12 we’ve seen in Q1-Q3 2021 collectively, (versus the average across Q1-Q3 in 2017/18/19/20). Without these supply and shipping issues, this uplift could have been significantly higher.

The Corporate/Government vertical (20% of global IFPD volume demand in 2020) is now also starting to recover, as businesses look to hybrid meeting solutions for staff. This has inevitably been spring boarded by the COVID pandemic, as has been the case with video conferencing and various other technology sectors. 

This momentum is not expected to slow, thanks to the remaining opportunity across the many growth drivers. Over the Q1 2021 to Q4 2025 period collectively, Futuresource expect a total of ~16 million Interactive Displays to ship globally, still led by Education demand, but with the Corporate/Government vertical taking an incrementally larger volume (and even more so value) share each year.

If you’re interested in exploring the ever-evolving use of Interactive Displays in both education and corporate environments, Futuresource’s newly released Q3 2021 Interactive Displays market report is now available; find out more here

About Futuresource Consulting

Futuresource Consulting is a market research and consulting company, providing its clients with expertise in Professional AV, Consumer Electronics, Education Technology, Content & Entertainment, Professional Broadcast and Automotive. Combining strong methodologies and unsurpassed data refinement with in-depth market knowledge and forecasting, Futuresource deliver the latest insights and technological developments to drive business decision-making.

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Jeremy Wills

About the author

Jeremy Wills

Jeremy joined Futuresource Consulting in 2001. He holds a degree in French from Kings College, University of London. Jeremy is a member of the Professional AV team. He focuses on Signal Distribution, Meeting Room Control, AV Managed Services, Interactive Displays, Professional Lighting and Esports.

In previous Futuresource roles, Jeremy was part of the Imaging team covering consumer camera and photo output markets and, prior to this, a member of the Home Entertainment team, tracking the global pre-recorded media manufacturing and storage media sectors. Jeremy has managed two research and analysis teams during his years with Futuresource, as well a wide variety of syndicated and custom research projects.

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