This year’s Locksmith Ledger State of the Industry report, which makes up nine pages starting on page 12, is a comprehensive look into the mind of today’s locksmith, with a particular focus on what is most important to their business. We are excited to report that responses to this year’s survey were up nearly 20 percent from last year, showing how thriving the locksmith community is, and how it continues to evolve and attract new talent.
Locksmith Ledger asked locksmiths for feedback on several key topics around their business, including market and product areas where they are seeing the most growth. For example, when asked which technologies locksmiths are most excited about (see page 7 of report), not surprisingly, smart locks were No. 1 on their list. The report also looks at where locksmiths buy their products (see page 8 of report), as well as which product categories are showing the most growth. Hint, electronic access and automotive fared well.
While we expected supply chain issues to ease a bit this year (see page 5 of report for a closer look), we were pleasantly surprised to see that the number of locksmiths affected by backlogs declined steeply, going from 64.9% of locksmiths saying “product delays” was their top concern last year, to just 32.3% this year. That is an incredible drop of about 50 percent overall from last year!
Because electronic access control is becoming such an integral part of a locksmith’s business, we asked several questions (see page 9 of report) to try and delve deeper into what influence the electronic movement is having on their business. Interestingly, when asked how much their business expects to implement with respect to electronic access control in the next year, almost half, 47.4%, said they will be implementing “more than before,” which quantifies what we are hearing in our conversations with locksmiths. Another 30.6% expect to implement “the same as before,” with only 20 percent saying they don’t expect to implement solutions for electronic access control.
In addition, a whopping 81% said electronic access control will have some effect by being a major driver in their product portfolio, or as a complement to their existing portfolio.
As Joshua Sands, owner of Key City Locksmith and Security, based in Kansas, points out, COVID greatly changed the workplace, hastening the adoption of electronic locks and connected technologies. “There was a hard to push to electronics, but it wasn't necessarily affordable on the residential side, and the commercial side, while they could afford it, they didn't spend money unnecessarily, especially if they perceived it as a convenience factor,” he explains. “Now, because of COVID, corporate has changed drastically – no more keys – too many people are not coming into the office, or don't come into work steadily, or there’s high turnover … so many factors.”
Another area where we take a deeper dive into is hiring (see page 6 of report), and not surprisingly, locksmiths noted, “finding qualified candidates” as their top challenge at 57.6%. This further validates findings on page 5 of the report that show “finding and retaining employees” as a “top five” business challenge facing locksmiths today. With the continued expansion into electronic access and other new and connected technologies, the locksmithing industry is attracting a new group of tech-savvy security professionals. Combined with this year’s positive financial forecast (see page 4 of report), the future for locksmiths is looking bright.