In the years I’ve worked at TWICE, the most difficult and contentious report this publication compiles and presents each year is the Top 100 CE Retailing Report.
The names of the retailers — and the sales volumes of those that are on the list for 2015 annualized sales — have certainly changed over the years.
And this list will continue to evolve, not only due to changes at leading retail chains, but due to the expanding selection of CE products, and where they will be sold.
Senior editor Alan Wolf, along with our great research partner Bob Tancula and The Stevenson Group, with help and guidance from editor in chief John Laposky, have done a fine job again this year.
But no matter how good a job they did, the Top 100 always generates questions from people who are on, and not on, the list asking, “How did you get the numbers?”
The second typical question is, “How can a (drug, grocery, toy, car parts, etc. chain — take your pick) be in the Top 100? They don’t sell TVs, audio, computers …” and so forth.
The quick answer is that these seemingly non-CE retailers sell a ton of a small selection of categories, many times accessories or portable audio.
TWICE and the Stevenson Company count sales of CE categories based on a list compiled by the Consumer Technology Association. The list is extensive and always is because consumer electronics has been, and will become, even more ubiquitous at retail and in everyday life.
Drones, medical CE devices of all types, virtual reality, CE-embedded clothing — all part of the IoT phenomenon — will take hold of consumers’ imaginations … and shopping budgets.
Clothing stores, department and sporting-goods chains, drug stores — you name it — may be joining the rankings sooner rather than later.
The TWICE Top 100 CE Retailers Report may have been created some 30 years ago to track audio/video products, as well as the emerging video game, home computer, landline phone, and accessories categories, but in several years it will have an even more diverse selection of categories sold by a plethora of retail chains maybe no one has heard of today.
That’s an example of innovation, something that the consumer electronics industry and its retailers are pretty good at.
Steve Smith is editor at large of TWICE and was its longtime editor in chief.