By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
While accessories manufacturers expect a fluctuating economy in the coming months (see story opposite), many executives cite specific categories where they expect good growth.
Here is a view of what leading executives think will be hot accessories categories during the year:
Recoton— Bob Borchardt, president/CEO of the company, reports, "The accelerated sales of TV sets and DVD players is resulting in consumers replacing their old connection cables with modern digital ones and purchasing new indoor TV antennas. Maintenance of key components — including VCRs, CDs, DVDs and computer equipment — [along] with a host of hot new care and maintenance products has [brought about] a greater focus."
He continued, "American families are buying new video game systems, games and related accessories-type products — including controllers, steering wheels, joysticks and memory cards — like never before."
Fellowes Manufacturing— Mark Naidoff, VP and general manager of computer/consumer electronics accessories worldwide, said his company's CES product lineup is designed to help consumers get more out of technology. Highlights include Body Glove cellular phone cases and headsets, a new line of ergonomically designed optical mice, a new line of PDA accessories that include ODA keyboard and case for Palm m500 and m505 and a new line of portable media storage wallets.
Maxell Corp. of America— Peter Brinkman, marketing director, expects "all things DVD will be very popular in the coming year. Our DVD care line is exhibiting strong early acceptance. We are introducing a full line of DVD video recordable media and we fully expect that DVD will provide incremental growth to the blank media category. One of the products in the line is our new DVD-RAM Camcorder Video Disc (2.8 GB), which we are featuring at CES in new consumer-friendly packaging."
Thomson Multimedia— David Geise, VP Americas, accessories and components, said, "As consumers seek solutions for managing their home entertainment systems, the market for universal remote controls continues to show healthy growth, especially in higher end products." He said a good example is the company's new touch-screen RCU1000B RCA remote that controls a TV, VCR, DVD player, cable box, satellite receiver, four audio devices and an auxiliary device.
"In 2002, we'll expand our offering of HP/RCA computer accessories, and we see increasing interest in home networking accessories — particularly those that let you use the existing power lines in your house."
Memorex Products— President Michael Golacinski said, "We are seeing early trends gather momentum, while new buying patterns begin to emerge. For example, the expansion of music recording and digital photography continues to accelerate, along with the phenomenal growth of CD-R and CompactFlash media."
He added, "As evidenced by recent introductions from Compaq, HP, Dell, Sony and Apple, computer desktops are now providing an integrated DVD recordable drive. Just as we have seen floppy disks give way to CD-ROM, CD-R and finally CD-RW, we are now witnessing the move toward recordable DVD/CD-RW drives in premium systems."
Belkin Components— Eric Tong, marketing director and product development, said home networking should be a major market. "Various research indicates home networking to grow to $9 billion by 2006. The explosion of broadband DSL/cable modem service growth has been a significant driving factor for the home networking category. Wireless networking (IEEE 802.11, or WiFi) has made the most 'noise' in the industry and the industry outlook is wireless networking will be the incumbent networking solution in the home by 2005."
Jasco Products— Kent Shiplet, executive VP/marketing and sales, said Jasco is debuting products in many categories at CES. "We are very excited about the launch of a completely new GE-brand computer accessory and surge protection line. The assortment offers leading-edge technology, dynamic contemporary packaging and pricing that will provide dealers with strong margins."
Targus — President Brett Johnson said, "Targus will continue to diversify into areas where there is great consumer demand. Plans are in place to continue to expand out miniature keyboard, digital imaging and laptop security lines."
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.