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Distributors See Hopeful 1st-Half Signs


What is the current condition of the CE
retail market? What does the first half look like?

Warren Chaiken, Almo:

Currently, the CE retail
market appears to be a little soft. This is not untypical
as we go through the TV line transitions and
work with our dealers to get their floors set with
2011 product. My guess is the CE market will be
flat in the first half, with TV manufacturers working
to get their arms around how their product is selling.
The arrival of tablets will also create demand,
but it is our perception that that this will be more
of a second-half business as opposed to first-half.

Dennis Holzer, Powerhouse Alliance:

dealers aggressively advertising and promoting
continue to do well. While profits are not where they should be, we have worked very hard with our
factories to supply additional opportunities and
products that will continue their momentum. As a
result, our sales have also been good and we also
expect them to get better as the economy strengthens
and progresses.

Moving forward, sales will continue to be good
for those who take advantage of the factory opportunities
available and in conjunction continue pushing
new and emerging technologies.

Consumers are spending and upgrading their
homes with newer technologies, specifically video
and Wi-Fi devices, such as iPad and tablets, and
successful dealers are taking advantage of that.

Fred Towns, New Age Electronics:

Most New
Age Electronics customers reported having a better
holiday selling season than expected, which is
promising. They still have healthy inventory with
great opportunities for selling current and new
products. The consumer has had a tough winter
season and is ready to get out shopping to see
what’s new. The timing is good for selling tablets
and the wide range of new mobility products in
spring and summer.

Jeff Davis, D&H Distributing:

Business for CE
is holding up in retail, and business for TV is starting
to revive. However, we have to sell more units
to amount to the same dollars. That is why IPTV is
compelling right now.

David Kaplan, DDG:

Digital Delivery Group’s
members target the custom integration (CEDIA)
channel rather than retail, per se. After a tough couple
of years, so far, the first half is feeling pretty good.

Dealers are learning to sell retro-fit and there
are new products (and new vendors) responding
to this trend. Value equations have changed and
we are seeing more of our integrators selling new
affordable solutions in areas such as security, content
delivery and energy savings. I don’t want to
jinx it by being overly optimistic as I had high hopes
going into 2009, but the buzz I am hearing from the
street is that things are picking up and seem to be
getting better.

Tom Roper, SED International:

The independent
dealer is showing signs that the economy is
starting to improve. The housing market is getting
better, which is a good sign for the CE dealer.
More new products like tablets, e-books and more Internet TVs will hit the market with a big
splash in the first half. Also smaller LCD TVs — 32
inches and under — will see lower pricing, which
will drive TV sales, while LED TV will be the driver
by the TV and monitor manufacturers for profit for
the dealers.

Jeff Kussard, Capitol:

I’m leery of being too
jubilant, though all indicators point to slow-but-sure
growth over the next several months. No doubt this
will be helped in a big way by the new generation
of e-readers, tablets and, best of all, the related
accessories that really add up to increased profits.
Keep in mind, the tablet market will be as lucrative
as the flat-screen business, i.e. big sales with razor-
thin margins. But along with this relatively new
category will come a tidal wave of accessories that
will add up to a significant boost to the bottom line
for retailers of all sizes.

Michael Flink, ADI:

The custom-install A/V
market has been flat, but is geared up for new
growth as consumer confidence is improving and
people are beginning to spend again. New media
and technology, such as streaming video and music,
will open up opportunity for dealers to call on
their previous customers to offer these solutions.