The economy seems to be turning around.
Have your customers seen it begin to translate into
consumer demand yet?
Michael Flink, ADI Americas:
Yes, we are beginning
to see improvements in consumer demand but
there have been some inconsistencies. There is definitely
strength in residential security and home automation,
along with commercial CCTV and commercial A/V.
In general, the commercial market has been stronger
than the residential market.
Rob Eby, D&H Distributing:
normally lags the beginning of a turnaround. We have
seen the beginnings of an uptick, but we feel that a bigger
market upswing will come later this year. The presidential
election will likely influence that timing.
Fred Towns, New Age Electronics/Jack of All
Our customers have seen an increase in demand
with certain product categories. Tablets continue
to be hot. Ultrabooks are getting huge hype with their
unique set of functionality, such as a thin footprint, instant
on and SSD technology, which is putting excitement
back in the PC category. Later in the year Win8
will also provide an uptick in demand.
The gaming category is showing promise of more
consumer demand, with new title releases and new
handheld devices like the Sony Vita. Other areas for
new growth will be with Cloud services bundled with
CE products like smart TVs and PCs.
Warren Chaiken, Almo:
The atmosphere at retail is
definitely more optimistic than a year ago. Our dealers
that are promoting the right bundle of brands are seeing
more footsteps in the door. This overall increase in
traffic is translating into a slight increase in sales which
should continue to grow commensurate with increased
stability in economic conditions.
Stephen Bodnarchuk, M. Rothman & Co.:
retailers we have interacted with this year have not seen
any sustainable upturn in sales as of yet. While some
forward looking economic indicators have been encouraging
and seem to point to a favorable economic
outlook, I don’t believe traditional CE retailers are experiencing
it just yet. Consumers are still remaining price
conscious and concerned with discretionary spending
as commodity items continue to rise, such as gasoline
approaching a projected cost of $5 a gallon.
Rob Kalman, SED International:
In some areas,
yes. Specifically, we saw a fairly strong holiday season
compared to expectations, and recent buying group
and SED shows have had decent turnouts and enthusiasm
among the dealers about new products and opportunities
to expand their business.
Jerry Satoren, DSI Systems:
I believe they have. I
just returned from Nationwide’s PrimeTime show where
most member dealers told me that January and February
sales comps are positive to 2011. And, in fact, the
result has been that DSI has been rewarded with a positive
year-over-year start to 2012 in spite of TV shortages
and choppy model transitions. With the Dow Jones index
reaching a four-year high and the continued positive
news relating to housing and employment, it appears
that the consumer is back in the game and I feel spending
will remain robust throughout the year.
Bill Stewart, Petra Industries:
We have seen
growth in several categories this year, and we are very
hopeful that this continues as our economy continues
to recover. Accessories for Apple-related products, cellular
and tablets have been red-hot lately, and we remain
focused on providing the largest and best assortment
of accessories that a retailer can attach to any hardware
purchase. Add-on accessory sales are what will
continue to drive business and profits for our dealers.