A quick look around the just opened Flatbush, Brooklyn location of
FRS/GMRS sales estimates for 2002 varied from slightly up to slightly down in units, although nearly all suppliers agreed that dollar sales declined.
Unit sales estimates ranged from 12.5 million to 14.5 million, said suppliers, with Cobra expecting industry sales to remain flat for 2003.
"Although there are no complete industry reports on the category, sell-through in units was up slightly," said Ralph Etna, Audiovox VP consumer goods.
Cobra estimated the year at flat to down for the industry; however, the company expects factory sales this year to improve, as retail inventories are low compared to a year ago. "Retail sell-through was great last year, so dealers are ordering," explained John Pohl, Cobra business development and communications VP. "Inventories are lower that we thought they would have been right now."
Suppliers this year are focusing on styling and sharp pricing (see TWICE Dec. 23, 2002 p. 64), with the launch of new wristwatch models and prices as low as $20 per pair. In line with these trends, Motorola showed at International CES last month a new T4500 22-channel, ½-watt unit with 2-mile range and unique styling at $24.99 per pair. The step-up model T5950 is a 1-watt version with subcodes, and it ships with a double recharger, NOAA weather and vibrate alert at a price to be announced.
Midland is focusing on small size and low price. The company's new lineup begins with a 2-watt, 5-mile GMRS at $49.95 per pair. Called the G223, it also features a three-year warranty. The step-up G225, at $59.95 per pair, adds privacy codes. It is followed by the G227, at $69.95, with vibrate alert. All models are now shipping.