Recession's impact: A bump or bloodbath?

The global economic recession has everyone attempting to evaluate their organization's performance compared to the market's performance. While the U.S. cabling market, specifically the structured cabling systems (SCS) market, has been impacted by the current recession, we have found from our recent analysis that the impact will vary from a bloodbath to a mere bump, depending on the metrics being used.

BY FRANK MURAWSKI, president of FTM Consulting Inc. (www.ftmconsultinginc.com)

The global economic recession has everyone attempting to evaluate their organization's performance compared to the market's performance. While the U.S. cabling market, specifically the structured cabling systems (SCS) market, has been impacted by the current recession, we have found from our recent analysis that the impact will vary from a bloodbath to a mere bump, depending on the metrics being used.

Projecting a stabilization of the market, with even some modest growth on a sequential quarterly basis for the balance of this year, we are now projecting the 2009 plenum cable market will decline by 12.1% from 2008. Based on this analysis, it appears as if the SCS market has and will continue to go through a bloodbath in the 2008-to-2009 time period.

But another way to evaluate the SCS market performance is to analyze the growth in the total value of all shipped SCS products--unshielded twisted-pair, coaxial, and fiber-optic cable, plus all associated apparatus devices. It also includes all cabling applications—not only LANs, but also new and evolving applications such as data centers, VoIP, video over IP, and wireless networking. Our data indicates that on this basis, the total SCS market grew by 1.5% in 2008 and is expected to decline by only 4.3% in 2009.

This is a radically different picture from the one painted by looking exclusively at the figures for plenum cable growth.

Whereas the plenum cable provided the prime metric when the SCS market was LAN-centric, the market has broadened to include numerous new cabling applications whose growth have offset the decline in LAN plenum cabling.

This article will appear in its entirety in the September issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance.

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