Sales of interactive whiteboards and flat-panel displays to schools in the United States declined in the third quarter of 2014, but sales are expected to begin picking up in 2016, according to a report by Futuresource Consulting Ltd.
U.S. sales of interactive display devices decreased about 16 percent in the third quarter, year over year—a figure that represents both education and corporate sales, although schools make up more than 85 percent of the current market, according to Colin Messenger, a senior market analyst for Futuresource and the author of the report from the U.K.-based research and forecasting company.
For this year, many K-12 budgets were stretched as schools prepared for the online common-core assessments in 2015. Districts were purchasing digital devices to prepare for tests, or they were investing in technology infrastructure upgrades, which competed with the available funds for interactive whiteboards or flat-panel displays, Messenger said.
As it is, interactive display devices are “front-and-center” in about 60 percent of classrooms in the United States, according to Futuresource; by 2019, 73 percent of classrooms are expected to have some interactive display at the front of the classroom, Messenger said. The current declining sales trend will likely pick up in 2016, Messenger said, as schools begin replacing older interactive whiteboards. In most cases, the newer generation of interactive flat-panel displays will replace the older interactive whiteboards, he added.
With an interactive whiteboard, sensing technologies give users the ability to interact with images that are projected onto it, but whiteboards require the use of a projector. Interactive flat panel LCD, LED, or plasma displays, on the other hand, do not require the use of a projector.
“A big finding of the last two or three quarters is that interactive flat panels are making a play in the education market, and it’s moving as the next very strong trend,” said Messenger. The technology provides all the same functionality as interactive whiteboards.
An interactive whiteboard costs about $2,000, said Messenger, but can have a higher cost of ownership over its approximate 10-year lifespan because of projector costs. An interactive flat panel costs about $3,000 to $4,000, but does not require additional equipment.
Messenger said Futuresource tracked 12 major global vendors in its survey, with nearly all selling in the United States.
The full “Interactive Displays Quarterly Market Track” report can be purchased here.