By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Deerfield, Ill. — Bang & Olufsen is expanding distribution of its B&O Play sub-brand with the launch of select Play products through MrPorter.com, the U.S.-based luxury shopping site for men.
The company launched the sub-brand in January 2012 to expand its customer base to a younger demographic through more affordable cash-and-carry products that offer broader appeal than Bang & Olufsen’s core A/V products. The company also said Play is targeted to “digitally connected design enthusiasts.”
MrPorter.com sells more than 170 international brands, including Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Raf Simons, Lanvin, Loro Piana, Maison Kitsune, Boglioli, APC, Beams Plus, J.Crew, Church's and Common Projects. From Bowers & Wilkins, the site sells headphones, $500 computer speakers and AirPlay speakers priced from $400 to $800.
Play’s launch through the site is part of an effort by B&O to expand Play distribution beyond B&O-branded stores,ShopBangOlufsen.com, BeoPlay.com, Apple retail stores and Apple online. Late last year, B&O America president Zean Nielsen told TWICE that the company would begin to market Play products in the following 12 months to service-oriented A/V specialists, high-end department and furniture stores, and the like. “We want the core [B&O-branded] stores to see the benefits first,” Nielsen said at the time.
Under the MrPorter.com deal, the website is offering three Play wireless sound systems for Apple’s mobile devices. They are the $800 Beolit 12 portable AirPlay speaker, the $1,149 tabletop BeoPlay A8 iPod/iPhone/iPad-docking speaker with AirPlay, and the BeoPlay $2,700 A9, a floorstanding AirPlay speaker shaped like a disc. The site is also selling Play's headphone portfolio, which will add the BeoPlay H6 in August.
Play products not included in the deal include two LCD TVs.
Play products, which are priced lower than the luxury brand’s other products, are targeted to younger people — primarily renters who are in their early 30s and whose primary music sources are digital — with cash-and-carry products that require no customized setup or installation, the company has said. The series is designed to familiarize a broader consumer base with the B&O brand and eventually entice Play buyers into buying higher-ticket B&O products, which include big-screen TVs and multi-room audio systems.
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.