Like every business, lighting design firms didn’t know how the pandemic would impact their operations in 2020 and beyond. Their resilience made them stronger than ever, demonstrating their ability to bounce back and change the industry for the better.
The International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) conducted a survey in January 2021 to see how firms were performing a year into the pandemic. Overall, lighting design firms have not seen a significant change in the status quo despite the ongoing pandemic, enabling them to complete projects as planned — with a few modifications here and there. However, some projects are still delayed, and supply and demand issues like backordered lighting equipment remain present.
To learn more about lighting design firms and how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their business efforts, read the State of the Lighting Design Survey conducted by IALD below. You will also discover industry trends to help you navigate challenges and maximize opportunities as the world reopens.
Editor’s note: The piece below originally appeared on the International Association of Lighting Designers’ website. You can also read the piece here.
As the pandemic extends into 2021, lighting design firms continue to experience ongoing challenges as the economy continues to react to the global reach of the COVID-19 pandemic. While vaccines are being distributed and administered, rollouts have been slower than many have hoped. Lighting design firms and lighting designers have experienced a variety of effects from this pandemic based upon size, geographic location, and distribution of work across different sectors.
To better understand these challenges and gain insight into the pandemic’s ongoing impact, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) surveyed lighting design business owners and principals about the COVID-19 crisis in May 2020 and October 2020. This survey was repeated in 2021 and posed questions for the January to March 2021 time frame. It opened on 14 January and closed on 29 January 2021. A total of 342 lighting designers, representing 46 different countries, responded to the most recent survey. Lighting design firm sizes ranged from solo practitioners (22%); two to five employees (27%), six to ten employees (18%), 11 to 49 employees (25%); and 50+ employees (8%).
Lighting Design Firms Still Resilient in Wake of Continued Pandemic
In May 2020, when the IALD first surveyed lighting designers, the results indicated that most lighting design firms were not fully prepared for this crisis—not unlike many other businesses worldwide. Though the majority of the respondents from May 2020 did not have a business continuity plan in place when the COVID-19 pandemic started, almost 30% of respondents did have a plan. While many of us were hoping for 2021 to start off strong, the ongoing pandemic damped any strong recoveries. In 2021, survey results indicate that less than 10% of firms reported no negative effect from the pandemic, and most firms are largely maintaining the status quo since the October 2020 survey.
The full impact of the global pandemic remains unknown. Last year in May 2020, most firm owners (54%) anticipated it would take between one to three or more years before businesses return to pre-COVID-19 levels. In October 2020, many lighting designers shifted the narrative from when business returns to normal to how the lighting design profession will look in the future. And in January 2021, many lighting designers recognize that the built environment will shift and there will be changes in how business is conducted.
Lighting Design Firms Maintain Status Quo
Lighting design firms around the world continue to experience a range of effects on prospective work. While only a small portion of owners and principals (8%) have not experienced any negative effect on prospective work, most firms seem split among a minor decrease (29%), a moderate decrease (31%) and a major decrease (26%) in prospective projects.