Avionics Market Down By 26 Percent in 2020

While overall activity was down in 2020, many owners took advantage of downtime to schedule panel upgrades. Julie Boatman

The Aircraft Electronics Association has determined that the avionics market’s overall activity was down by 26 percent in 2020 over the previous year—but 2019 was a record-high year for the industry. The association released its annual Avionics Market Report on February 9 for 2020. Total worldwide sales for business and general aviation avionics reached more than $2.2 billion, ascertained through reports from the companies participating in the AEA’s survey. Sales in 2019 exceeded $3 billion, riding out the wave of ADS-B installations ahead of the January 2020 mandate in the US.

The total sales reflects a low point in the report’s nine-year history, with the fourth quarter specifically marking sales off 28.1 percent as compared to the prior year’s final quarter. While the beginning of 2020 was marked by steep declines in sales as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales saw a rebound somewhat in the last six months of the year. Of the total 2020 sales, 55.9 percent came from the retrofit market, illuminating the anecdotal evidence from owners and avionics installers used the downtime to make upgrades to their aircraft. Forward-fit—or OEM installations on new aircraft—registered 44.9 percent of sales. Nearly 74 percent of sales took place in the North American market (Canada and the US) with the balance in markets around the world.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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