By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
SAN DIEGO -Rechargeable batteries manufacturer Sanyo Energy (USA)-supplier of GE/Sanyo- brand photo lithium, alkaline and rechargeable batteries, cellular and cordless replacement batteries, and accessories-has introduced its Digital Camera Batteries pack.
The package is said to be ideal for high-drain digital devices such as digital cameras, family radios, pocket PCs and MP3 players and includes a nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) and nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) AA/AAA charger, a travel case for the charger, and two AAA and four AA Ni-MH rechargeable batteries. The unit, which features the GE/Sanyo brand on both batteries and chargers, has a suggested $50 retail and March availability.
"Sanyo, which has always been strong, providing high-quality [batteries] as an OEM, is better able to define the category for [retail] customers," with its GE/Sanyo brand, said Fred E. Creamer, manager of business development at Sanyo's retail division. With the new Digital Camera Batteries, he said, "we're looking to become the category manager, helping to drive the category."
"You have to differentiate yourself," said Creamer about the batteries business for the maturing cellular phone category, as well as the fast-growing digital-device segment. "The key to success is to become a value-added partner, by providing a complete line of competitively priced product, market knowledge and support after the initial sale to help drive sales."
The new Digital Camera Batteries unit, which, like other products in the line, is dressed in color-coded graphics and provides all consumer information right on the face of the package. Here, users are informed that GE/Sanyo Ni-MH cells are the "highest capacity AA Ni-MH batteries in the world," that these offer "twice the runtime of ordinary Ni-Cd batteries," and that they are "great for high-drain digital equipment."
GE/Sanyo, which aggressively launched its cellular phone batteries and accessories business about two years ago with some 15,000 retail locations, expects to extend this by about two times the number of stores by the end of the first quarter. Helping this growth has been the shift from selling through non-traditional to traditional channels of distribution, said Creamer.
Regarding rechargeable batteries sales, he said that "overall, it's the cellular phone that is still driving the business. You're looking at 25 percent growth year over year for the next five years."
Currently, Sanyo is gearing up to move from less than 50 SKUs in its cellular/digital accessories line to more than 200 SKUs. Suggested retails range from $10 to $60.
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