In 2021, service companies and technicians completed over one million jobs through the Field Nation platform. From spikes in demand to shifting retail norms, our data paints the picture of a field service industry preparing for its next big step forward. Here are ten surprising stats from the past year.
- Demand for self-checkout technology grew by 42%. A big factor behind this surge is the labor shortage, which has retailers worried about attracting and retaining employees. Self-checkout devices present a path forward amidst labor uncertainty.
- Traditional point-of-sale experienced much slower growth at 14%. This type of work was predominantly troubleshooting, maintenance, and upgrades of existing devices, which could suggest the beginning of a gradual shift away from these types of devices.
- Demand for rack and stack installations and upgrades to network equipment rose by 42%. This makes sense considering the increase in device installations and advancements in wireless technology, which put sizeable pressure on network infrastructure.
- On a related note, we saw 31% growth in low-voltage cable (LVC) installations. The widespread proliferation of devices continues to drive demand for low-voltage data and voice cables, and we expect this trend to continue in 2022 and beyond.
- Work done at hospitality locations was down by 12%, BUT this number represents progress. Compare that -12% number to the devastating -40% drop during the onset of the pandemic. Interestingly enough, there is a self-service aspect to hospitality’s gradual recovery: many hotel chains are transitioning to self-service check-in and keyless door entry.
- Over 65% of quick-service restaurant (QSR) revenue comes from drive-thru and pick-up lanes. This dominant percentage aligns with the spike in work we’ve seen on outdoor menu boards, which was up 50% this past year. These channels will continue to be a priority for QSRs
- New security requirements and heightened demand led to a 28% YoY increase in security device installs. Companies are adding cameras, CCTV devices, alarms, and door security devices to their existing systems in an effort to keep an eye on their inventory.
- “Winning retailers” (i.e. retailers with sales growth of 10% or more) are spending 47% of their IT budget on new systems and innovation.¹ In other words, retailers with dramatic sales growth are spending almost half their budget on new systems and innovations. Compare that to just a few years ago when ~80% of their spend was devoted to keeping the lights on with existing systems, with only about 20% left for innovation.
- Google searches for field service technicians are up 14% and have reached their highest point in 20 years. The various surges in demand spelled out above represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity for field service organizations, and the demand for skilled labor is high.
- The workforce continues to lean toward a freelancing model, with more than 600 field technicians joining the Field Nation platform every week. COVID-19 shook up the labor market in many unexpected ways. Some field technicians with decades of experience saw the COVID reset as an opportunity to reevaluate how they want to work, and a critical mass of former full-time employees are migrating to an independent contractor model of work.
¹IHL Group 2022 Retail Experience Market Summary