With technology and manufacturing leading change in CE furniture presentation and pricing, and the mount business benefiting from the emergence of mid-size LCD screens and the continued surge of front-projector units, both Bell'O International and Chief are two companies looking at 2006 for increasing the dimensions of their businesses.
“Consumers appear to be somewhat unsettled as we head into 2006. Concerns that range from the very personal and devastating impact of the 2005 hurricanes to the potential macroeconomic impact of higher interest rates have the potential to moderate overall consumer electronics buying in 2006,” said Scott Gill, CEO of both mount maker Chief and sister company Sanus Systems.
Despite that unsettled sentiment, the widespread adoption of flat-panel TV and front-projector technologies is continuing. With these technologies and the related form factors, consumers are able to truly “rethink” their television and movie experiences at home, continued Gill.
Two trends stand out for the fourth quarter of 2005 and into 2006, noted Gill — the emergence of mid-range LCD screens in the 32-inch to 40-inch range, and the adoption of competitively priced and feature-rich front-projector units for the home.
Accessories play a key part of the story for retailers wanting to take advantage of these two trends. “From advertising sophisticated swing-arm wall mounts for the new 32-inch to 40-inch flat-panels TVs to installing projector ceiling mounts for home theater applications, retailers and custom installers continue to have a great opportunity to define how consumers interact with these high-growth technologies,” said Gill.
Mounting and furniture solutions, from brands such as Savage, Minn.-headquartered Chief and St. Paul, Minn.-based Sanus, allow the retailer to introduce consumers to endless placement possibilities for their flat-panel TV or projector. “Retailers will enjoy both immediate incremental accessory sales as well as added revenue from increased flat-panel and projector purchases,” Gill concluded.
“The economy faces some head winds for 2006, with interest-rate hikes to slow down inflation, housing prices appearing to have peaked as inventory of unsold new homes is at a five-year high, higher energy prices and government spending on repairing the Gulf Coast and Florida from natural catastrophes,” said Marc Sculler, president of Morganville, N.J.-based Bell'O International. “This will slow consumer spending below the 3 percent to 3.5 percent expected in 2005,” he noted.
“It remains a very exciting time for the CE industry as technology and manufacturing takes center stage to bring products to market that the consumer wants at pricing the consumer can afford,” said Sculler. “You would be hard pressed to find a consumer who does not want a flat-panel HDTV.