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Combined Sales Fell In ’09 For Top 25 Car Electronics Dealers

NEW YORK — Car electronics sales
among the top 25 car electronics retailers
fell in 2009 for the first time since
TWICE began compiling its Top 25
list in 2003.

Combined sales among the group fell
10.6 percent to $5.12 billion, and only
eight retailers on the list posted gains,
TWICE found. Doubledigit
percentage declines
were the norm, with declines
running as much as
53.4 percent for

As a group, however,
the top 25 dealers handily
outperformed the industry,
based on the Consumer
Electronics Association’s
(CEA) 2009 estimates of a 42.6 percent
decline in factory-level car electronics
sales to $3.53 billion. The decline was
driven mostly by a 58 percent drop in
portable navigation device (PND) sales
to $1.56 billion.

CEA’s statistics and TWICE’s Top
25 dealer sales statistics include sales
of installed aftermarket car audio, car
video and navigation systems as well as
PNDs, car security systems and radar
detectors. TWICE’s statistics were developed
by The Stevenson Company.

Stevenson’s research found that the
mass-merchant, consumer-direct, and
12-volt specialty channels posted slight
dollar-share gains among the Top 25
retailers, while electronics and electronics/
appliance dealers reduced their
share to 39.8 percent from 2008’s 42.2
percent, due in part to the
demise of Circuit City. The
electronic chain’s 2008 sales
were $684 million.

Stevenson also found that
the warehouse club and
home-office channels also
lost share among the Top
25 dealers, though not significantly.

Mass-merchant share rose to 24.7
percent of Top 25 volume from 23 percent,
while consumer-direct share rose
to 16.7 percent from 15.8 percent. The
share of Top 25 volume held by 12-
volt specialists rose a tad to 3.9 percent
from 3.6 percent.

Some names fell off the 2009 list
— Sam’s Club, Comp-U-Plus and defunct
Circuit City — while two other
names came to the fore — Kmart and Cabela’s sporting goods. Kmart floated
to the surface as the 25th largest car
electronics retailer despite sales volume
that fell 24.3 percent to $21 million.
Cabela’s sales were up 7.6 percent
to $31 million.

For the year, one thing didn’t change.
Best Buy, Walmart and RadioShack
maintained their respective positions
as the nation’s first-, second- and thirdlargest
retailers of car electronics. All
three, nonetheless, posted double-digit
percentage sales declines. Best Buy’s
$1.21 billion in sales handily bested
No. 2 Walmart, which posted $799
million in sales. moved up in rank to
fourth from fifth place on the basis of a
14.3 percent gain in sales to $449 million
as it, marketers said, has grown increasingly
aggressive in car electronics.
Target moved up to fifth place from
seventh based on a 19.2 percent sales
boost to $324 million.

The other six retailers that posted
2009 sales gains were the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, up 1.5 percent
to $138 million; Audio Express, up
13.7 percent to $55 million; Harmony/
Ultimate, up 0.9 percent to $51 million;, up 15.1 percent to $46 million;
BrandsMart USA, up 3.1 percent to
$43 million; and Cabela’s, up 7.6 percent
to $31 million in navigation sales.

The nation’s largest 12-volt specialty
chain by volume — Car Toys — suffered
an 8.8 percent sales decline to $124 million
(excluding the chain’s cellular sales)
but maintained its No. 8 position. The
nation’s second largest 12-volt chain, Audio
Express, grew sales by 13.7 percent to
$55 million and moved up in rank to 13
from 17. It doesn’t sell cellular.

Others that moved up appreciably
in rank were Systemax to 9 from 19, to 16 from 22, and BJ’s to
22 from 25.

Companies that dropped a few
notches in rank were to 23
from 18, Fry’s to 18 from 15, and QVC
to 17 from 11.

Retailers that didn’t make the 2008
list and just missed making the2009
list include Sony stores, with $20 million
in 2009 car electronics volume; regional
appliance/electronics chain P.C.
Richard, with $18 million; Offi ce Max,
with $17 million; New York’s Sixth Avenue
Electronics chain, with $16 million;
Bass Pro Shops, with $16 million;
automotive chain The Pep Boys, with
$12 million; and Nebraska Furniture
Mart, with less than $8 million.

The outlook for the Top 25’s performance
in 2010 could show some improvement,
based on early-2010 sales statistics
supplied by The NPD Group and
reports from marketers and retailers.

For the January to April 2010 period,
NPD found mobile-A/V sales, including
in-dash aftermarket navigation
but excluding PNDs, slipped at only
a single-digit 8 percent rate to $265.2
million at the retail level. PND sales
were off 16 percent to $266.9 million.
Last year, in contrast, mobile-A/V sales
were off by 17 percent, and PND sales
were down 17 percent, NPD said.

For many A/V specialists and 12-volt
specialists, however, the market is up. The
Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO
Group) buying group said member sales
of car electronics rose 5 percent in dollars
so far this year. Members include Top 25
retailers Car Toys and Crutchfield and
such retailers as Sixth Avenue.

Likewise, Audio Express president
Mike Santacruz also said the industry “is
slowly coming back” and that so far this
year, he’s beating last year’s numbers.


NEW YORK — The TWICE Top 25 Car
Electronics Retailers Report ranks the
leading domestic car audio and electronics
dealers by sales for the 2009 calendar

Retail sales figures are based on information
that was supplied by retailers responding
to a survey by TWICE and its
research partner The Stevenson Company.
Absent their input, estimates were
developed from Stevenson’s internal market
tracking surveys (TraQline) and industry
sizing based on wholesale shipment
figures from the Consumer Electronics
Association (CEA), average retail price
points by products and other sources.

All estimates were further refi ned with
public filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC), TWICE industry
analyses, financial analysts’ reports,
published data and other sources.
Sales figures for 2009 were then compared
with 2008 sales tallies and adjusted
if necessary to more closely track industrywide
revenue growth.

Respondents were instructed to exclude
revenues received for installation
services, repair services, rentals, warranties
or extended-service contracts,
as well as sales to businesses, government
and education.

Stevenson’s TraQline syndicated quarterly
survey of 150,000 shoppers measures
retail purchases of consumer durables, and
provides estimates of unit and dollar market
share and other key data points.