TWICE: What does the holiday sales season for CE products look like two months from Christmas?
Warren Chaiken, Almo: The holiday season is going to be very competitive with a focus on premium product sales. The pricing wars will start earlier than normal and will be predatory with little margin to be made. Inventory will remain tight, similar to the last two years, and we are already expecting television shortages in smaller-screen TVs of 40 inches and below.
Fred Towns, New Age Electronics and Jack of All Games: Retailers are very excited about the wide selection of “always-on” consumer technology products that are connected for the onthe- go consumer lifestyle. Products with these features are much desired due to the wide array of content available and how they are used.
Brent McCarty, Ingram Micro Consumer Electronics: We’re feeling very optimistic about the upcoming holiday season, especially with some key, strategic categories. Consistent with the industry as a whole, we are experiencing double-digit growth in the headphones category. We have exclusive relationships with a few headphone brands that have contributed to this success, making us the headphone headquarters.
With the introduction of new smartphones, we expect to see this trend continue — seeing growth across all price points and products, but especially in noise canceling, sports headphones and in-line-microphone headphones. Our business unit continues to see strong growth in LED TVs 55 inches and above, which has helped raise [average selling prices] for our business and our customers’ sales.
Along with this, we also see complementary demand for home audio products, especially soundbars and wireless products.
Ron Eby, D&H Distributing: End users are being frugal with the dollars they have. I think they will be shopping for deals, and I think there will be plenty to be had.
Bill Stewart, Petra Industries: We are optimistic that we’ll see growth for CE products during the holiday sales season starting with the Black Friday push. Our customers, regardless of their business size, have worked really hard and are already preparing for the holiday sales season early by developing their strategic positions and sales strategies around the kickoff for Black Friday. We think that pre-promotions for accessories from categories including iPhone, iPad and iPod, Bluetooth speakers, headphones, gaming, tablets, wireless speakers and satellite-radio receivers will drive much of the holiday sales business.
Curt Hayes, Capitol Sales: The season is shaping up to be a good one. Consumer confidence is up, and so are inventories of our most popular categories, including video displays and a wide variety of audio products, especially speakers. As we saw last year, the most successful dealers understand the importance of adding attachment sales to every panel that leaves the store. Speakers, especially soundbars, are a natural match for TV sales, as are must-have accessories such as HDMI cables and power strips.
Jerry Satoren, DSI Systems: The biggest issue we face this year is the lack of “must have” CE products. I truly believe that industry sales so far in 2012 are a reflection of that more than anything else. In the TV space, I think we will see continued energy out of the 60-inch and above screen sizes but I believe that the rest of the TV business will continue to be flat. With that said, retailers must take a hard look at Black Friday promotions with a renewed level of sanity and fear. If they look anything like 2011, bottom-line results for Q4 will be even more of a disaster than last year.
Dennis Holzer, PowerHouse Alliance: At this point, [holiday] sales looks very similar to the last couple of years, which produced good results. The number of “new” hot have-tohave products is less than in previous years, but the “value” on many newer current products specifically in audio and video are very good, which should keep the consumer demand strong throughout the Christmas selling season.