New York - In its first Top 25 Mobile Electronics Retail Report, TWICE is putting the spotlight on a category that has long been a profit center for CE chains and a means of reeling in the 18- to 25-year-old customer.
Yes, 2003 was a tough year in car A/V as CD player sales dropped 5 percent in dollars for the first time, and as Gen-X and -Yers spent their money on other high-tech and high-flash products, such as iPods, cellphones and tuner accessories. Retailers and suppliers alike also faced stiffer competition from fancier OEM systems in new cars and also from unauthorized sellers, who have bloomed like spring lilies on the Internet.
But the aftermarket remains a resilient force.
Despite the 7 percent overall decline in sales this year, according to CEA, many of the TWICE Top 25 Mobile Electronics Retailers managed to post gains or to break even.
Car Toys claimed low double-digit increases, and Mickey Shorr said sales were up 8 percent due to a strong commitment to car video.
Posting the strongest gains of the Top 25 was Wal-Mart. Only a marginal player in the category a few years ago, the retail giant has picked up lines such as Sony, Pioneer and Lightening Audio in the past three years, and is rapidly becoming an industry force in satellite radio. One supplier said he expects the chain to achieve 30 percent to 40 percent gains again next year.
Other strong retail performers credited their numbers to pushing the hotter categories of mobile video and satellite radio.
The complete list will be available for purchase online during the week of May 17. Please check www.twice.com for information.