NATM Suppliers See Digital CE Growth For '01

By Steve Smith On Mar 12 2001 - 8:00am

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. -Consumer electronics suppliers who attended the NATM Buying Group meeting volunteered their own opinions on the first quarter and beyond, and were impressed with the members' approach and outlook for the year.

One leading manufacturer noted, "Speaking to these guys, you'd never think that we might be on the edge of a downturn. This is not necessarily a 'recession-proof' industry, but with families possibly delaying other purchases, cutting back on vacations and other items, video and audio entertainment in the home becomes more important. And they will turn to consumer electronics."

M.W. Lee, senior VP/general manager of Samsung Consumer Electronics, said CE sales will be flat for the industry during 2001. "However, digital products of all types will lead the way. DVD will become more popular than VCRs, digital TV [sales] will grow more than analog TVs. This will be an important year" in that regard.

Bob Borchardt, president of Recoton, said it is "too early to tell where business is headed this year." However, he noted that digital products "such as DVD, DSS, digital TV and video games have really brought consumers into the market and will continue to do so.The retail market is changing. Where PCs were big a couple of years ago, now it is being supplanted by digital video" and other digital CE categories.

Borchardt agreed that "those consumers who spend on consumer electronics will do it on home, portable and car entertainment. Historically, the consumer electronics business is recession-resistant."

Many CE retailers and manufacturers hope that trend continues.

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