By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
In a repeat of last spring, strong demand in mobile video is generating spot shortages in in-dash DVD and video monitors, said some suppliers and retailers. Approximately half the retailers polled by TWICE reported some type of backorder in the category.
On the supply side, both Audiovox and Kenwood admitted to supply problems, while Alpine and Panasonic said they had ample inventory. Several retailers, however, noted some Alpine shortages as well.
"We're definitely scrambling. We didn't project the huge growth we'd have in the larger screens but we're starting to catch up," said Audiovox senior VP for mobile electronics Tom Malone. "No one is sitting in a position where they have completely balanced inventory in video. It's impossible, the growth is too strong and the lead times with our factories are three to five months."
Kenwood VP sales and marketing Bob Law said the KVT-910DVD was in heavy demand. "We were surprised at the market capacity for product that's over $2,000. But part of the problem is a shortage of key components, particularly because we use a special touch-screen LCD display. We're struggling to get enough, but we should be caught up by June or July." Law added, "We projected significant increases over last year and it wasn't enough."
Retailers said they continue to juggle inventories to meet demand. A buyer for Sound Advice, Dania, Fla., Dan Jeancola claimed, "We sell as many in-dash DVD pieces as we can get our hands on. All the manufacturers underestimated the demand. I could sell 50 percent more right now. I can't put them on display because people buy them off the display. In the last three months, we've had record sales volume in mobile video — double last year easily."
Audio Unlimited, Jonesville, N.C., said 30 percent to 40 percent of his orders are backordered.
"Video is all that people want. Manufacturers can't build enough," said Jay Karagianis, owner of Car Stereo Warehouse, Clearwater, Fla., noting back-orders on both Kenwood and Alpine products. "Kenwood can only supply us with two or three of their KVT in-dash DVDs a month, but right now I have five already pre-sold. I could sell 50 if I could get them," he said.
Jerry Bailey, president of four-store chain Columbus Car Audio, Columbus, Ohio, said, "Yes we have shortages. We do the majority of our business in video with Audiovox, and they've really been short this year. We have some 13-inch screens that have been on backorder probably 30 days. We're running into some problems with Alpine — it's mainly screens."
Dashboard, Durham, N.C., said it was able to receive only a few Kenwood KVT-910DVDs per month and said the Alpine 750A was also backordered.
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.