Retailers Step Up 2.4GHz Ads, Scale Back Cordless Efforts

By Greg Scoblete On Sep 3 2001 - 6:00am




Retailers have stepped up the frequency with which they advertise 2.4GHz cordless phones but they're still not advertising them as much as 900MHz phones, according to a Beyen International analysis of retail advertising through July.

Overall, retailers have been less aggressive this year in promoting cordless phones, Beyen also found. For the year through July, the number of cordless phones advertised (2.4GHz and 900MHz combined) dropped 5.4 percent to 51,126.

The statistics also show that, among the 10 most frequently advertised brands, the average advertised price of a 2.4GHz phone fell from $127.80 during the January-July 2000 period to $120.30 during January-July 2001. In 900MHz, the drop is more pronounced, with the average advertised price among the top-10 advertised brands falling to $37.50 during the January-July 2001 period from $48.40 during the year-ago period.

The statistics reflect retail ads tracking in more than 90 newspapers and catalogs.

"On a product level, advertising for 900MHz cordless phones was lower each month this year compared to 2000," said Beyen analyst Jim Kennedy. "Advertising for 2.4GHz telephones, however, was higher each month this year compared to 2000, but it has leveled off somewhat after an almost continual increase during 2000," he said.

Although retailers are still promoting 900MHz more often than 2.4GHz, the chasm that existed in 2000 closed to a mere crevice in 2001. In January 2000, retailers pushed 900MHz models over their 2.4GHz counterparts by a rate of almost six to one. By January of 2001, that ratio fell precipitously to around two to one and then in July 2001 to about 1.5 to one.

Panasonic was the most-often-advertised brand of 2.4GHz phones during the six-month February-July 2000 period. Among all brands, Panasonic's advertising share was 35 percent, and the company continued to lead the pack for the same time period in 2001 with a 33-percent share.

Siemens, which was third in 2.4GHz advertising frequency behind Uniden during the February-July 2000 period, became the second-most-often advertised 2.4GHz brand with a 13 percent share during this year's February-July period. Uniden slipped to third with 11 percent.

The next-most frequently advertised 2.4GHz brands in February-July 2001 are VTech with 11 percent and AT&T and Sony, each with 7 percent.

The advertising frequency of Toshiba 2.4GHz phones slipped dramatically between the two time periods from 6 percent to 2 percent, and the average advertised price of Toshiba 2.4GHz models slipped to $63.70 from $122.43 during that time.

The most heavily advertised 2.4GHz model during the February-July 2001 period was VTech's VT-2431 with an average advertised price of $135.92.

In advertised 900MHz phones, VTech trumps its competitors in advertising frequency. Among all phone brands advertised by retailers, VTech garnered a 26 percent share of advertised phones during the February-July 2000 period, and the company continued to lead the way in 2001 with 25 percent of the advertising from February through July.

The next-most-often advertised brands during the 2001 time period were General Electric (18 percent), Sony (14 percent), Panasonic (12 percent) and Uniden (8 percent).

The most heavily promoted 900MHz phone during the six-month period was General Electric's 26920 with an average advertised price of $29.

Among the top 10 brands combined, the average advertised price of 2.4GHz cordless phones fell in the February-July 2001 period to $120.30 from the year-ago period's $127.80. In contrast, the average sell-through price of 2.4GHz phones dropped from $145.13 in the year 2000 to $119.12 during January to July 2001, according to NPD Intelect statistics.

In 900MHz, the advertised-price drops are greater, with the average advertised price for the January-July time period falling from $48.40 in 2000 to $37.50 in 2001. The average selling price of 900MHz phones in the year 2000 was $53.90 versus $46.59 during January to July this year, NPD said.

In July 2001, the average advertised price of 2.4GHz phones varied greatly by brand. Models from Panasonic, Sony and Siemens were at the high end, with the average price of Panasonic's advertised models at $177.23, with Sony at $181.21 and Siemens at $166.73.

For the February-July 2001 period, Panasonic, Sony and Siemens had advertised-phone prices averaging $190.12, $187.15 and $166.73, respectively. In the year-ago period, Panasonic's advertised phones had an average price of $179.60, with Siemens at $223.13.

The 2.4GHz models from Toshiba and Northwestern Bell were promoted at lower prices in July with averages of $44.88 and $40.19, respectively. For February-July, those brands' averages were $63.70 and $38.35, respectively, while last year they averaged $112.43 and $63.28, respectively.

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