San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
With so many varied factors influencing the accessories business, it's not surprising that suppliers are spreading their focus around, searching for niches.
Brett Allsop, co-president of Allsop, identified a surprisingly mature category for growth. "We believe that the notebook accessory market has been overlooked and we think that there are significant gains to be had in that arena by more creative players. Allsop has developed several new interesting products in that area, such as our new Cool Channel product," Allsop said.
Another potential sales driver is the launch of Vista, Microsoft's latest operating system. "It could fuel a flurry of system upgrades for the PC and notebook side of things. Both of these developments bode well for the demand of removable storage products, such as optical media, flash drives and hard drives," said Scott Popovich of Imation.
Jasco identified what it called "four primary volume and profit drivers" for 2007: digital TV conversion, Bluetooth, Z-Wave wireless technology and iPod MP3 accessories.
HDMI is something that almost everyone contacted agreed has a chance to see rapid growth.
"To quote Jessica Simpson from a popular DirecTV commercial: 'It's got 1,080p — I don't know what that is, but I know I want it,'" said Audiovox's Tom Malone. " Even if the consumer doesn't know what HD or HDMI is, they know they want it."
Sharon Vernon, accessories VP at Thomson, which sold its business to Audiovox just before Christmas (see. p. 8), agreed. "Flat-panel products will supplement the new line of HDMI gear under the Acoustic Research brand that includes HDMI switchers, HDMI repeaters and SimplyHD-verified HD hookup cables.
"We want to make it even easier for a retailer to merchandise these products near the flat-panel TV sets that are selling like hotcakes, " she added.
Finally, Monster's Noel Lee is predicting a "huge upswing in the power category. With new advancements in our power technologies, we are able to bring more to the consumer at lower prices."