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ProSource Riding The Home Automation Wave

ProSource, the $4.5 billion CE wing of the BrandSource buying group, reported solid prospects for the year following a strong 2015.

ProSource president/CEO Dave Workman, in a state-of-the-industry presentation last week at the groups’ Spring Summit at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Fla., outlined how the division is competing in this ever-changing marketplace, and its efforts to improve overall performance and growth.

In general, luxury sales and control and automation will remain strong in early 2016, Workman said, quoting National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) statistics showing that housing starts will be up for this year and next.

But Workman cautioned, “Growth will be there, but we will have to work hard to find it.”

For instance, wireless multiroom audio sales will decline year on year for the first time, and the introduction of Google and other less-expensive wireless audio platforms will cause declines. Workman noted that wireless multiroom is part of “a larger ecosystem [that] has never been more important to stemming losses in the category.”

Audio components are a traditional strength of ProSource and its members, and he predicts “modest growth” for that business with stable pricing and new categories like 4K switching, Dolby Atmos and even turntables helping the group to “outpace the market and grow share” this year.

In TV, while “growth can’t be assumed” for ProSource’s channels, Workman reminded members that they center on the $2,500-plus-priced market, which may grow from 366,000 units last year to 500,000 units in 2016.

The “keys to success” for ProSource members in TV will be in 75-inch and above LED and OLED panels with demonstrations of HDR and 4K Blu-ray decks, which should make this year “an exciting time for us to be in TV.”

Growth in headphones and Bluetooth audio is clear for this year, he said, with stable average selling prices “allowing unit increases to translate into dollar gains.” ProSource members play in the higher end of each category, he noted, which will be a major benefit.

Another clear winner should be home automation, networking and control, which should enjoy 15 to 20 percent growth this year. “Our order books are strong and we have had a good start this year,” Workman stated.

He warned members that “we must evolve” with these categories, including IoT, “so we don’t get locked out” of the majority of growth expected into the future.

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