By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The consumer electronics industry is booming!
From satellite radio and HDTV to wireless phones and MP3 players, manufacturers and retailers are bringing more innovative devices to market than ever before — with no signs of slowing down.
And consumers are buying. With total factory sales of consumer electronics estimated to reach nearly $135 billion in the next four years, it’s clear that the industry is successfully identifying what end users want, and how they want it.
But there is still an opportunity to do more and make consumer electronics an even better value proposition for the people who purchase them. It’s all in the accessories.
Accessories products help consumers get a whole new level of performance from their consumer electronics purchases and help retailers and manufacturers alike increase profits. In fact, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) projects that the accessories market, including batteries and blank media, will exceed $10 billion by year’s end.
But historically, CE accessories have been an afterthought for retailers and consumers alike. Why?
Challenging to market and often underestimated for their quality-enhancing capabilities, accessories frequently take a back seat to bigger-ticket CE products that generate more revenue more quickly.
For consumers, though, accessories can make all the difference, helping enhance their listening and viewing experience, and allowing for further personalization and portability, while adding to the overall enjoyment of a new CE purchase.
CEA, working with its accessories division membership, developed a number of key initiatives throughout 2004 to help create the tools retailers and manufacturers need to increase their accessories sales. The pump has been primed, so to speak, and this year it will be easier than ever for CE retailers to market and sell accessories for a variety of different product categories and customer segments.
CEA’s efforts have culminated in the form of the Accessorize now! Retailer Toolkit, a one-of-a-kind CD-ROM resource containing various leading-edge components that will help the CE retail community increase sales.
Among the resources in the Accessorize now! Retailer Toolkit is the CEA Connections Guide, a unique interactive, online manual to help consumers determine the best connectivity options for their A/V equipment purchases.
The purpose of the CEA Connections Guide is twofold. First, it can help end-users navigate a variety of connectors and cables to quickly and easily connect their new and existing CE products. It also can help consumers determine the best connection options for their situation before they make a purchase. The latter can have a particularly dramatic impact on accessories sales going forward — by giving CE consumers the power to research their own connectivity options before entering the point of sale, retailers will reap the benefits of an educated and discerning customer base that understands the true value of owning the right accessories.
The CEA Connections Guide is available at www.ce.org/connectionsguide.
The CEA Accessorize now! Retailer Toolkit also includes information about CEA’s CEknowhow, a free Web-based training tool created to help the retail sales professional increase product knowledge, improve selling skills and become a recognized sales professional in the CE industry. Making accessories a vital part of a CE purchase requires an educated retailer, and CEknowhow can help give the industry the information it needs to make complete, successful sales.
I encourage you to make a New Year’s resolution to focus on the vital accessories category in 2005. Put the materials CEA has made available to you to good use and charge your sales. Accessorize now!
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.