Brand Source’s Lawrence: Consumers Still Crave the In-Store Experience
Brand Source CEO Bob Lawrence, in a “State of the Group” report to his membership at its annual Summit in Orlando Tuesday, said that in a connected world, “consumers are still looking to buy at brick and mortar” – but he stressed that the experience has to be a premium one, and that consumers have to be ushered to dealers’ doors via a similarly premium online experience.
Lawrence said the group had achieved $14 billion in sales last year through its 4,000 members, and that as of today, consumer electronics is its largest category, accounting for 45 percent of sales, with appliances making up 35 percent and the balance divided among furniture and other categories.
Lawrence presented sales stats to the general membership. He told them that for 2013 vs. 2012, all major categories carried by the Brand Source members consistently bettered those for the industry. In audio, group business rose 7 percent where industry business decreased 4 percent. Custom integration business rose 31 percent vs. 7 percent for the industry. Appliance sales were up 7.2 percent vs. 4.5 percent for the industry. The bedding category was up 5 percent vs. 2.1 percent for the industry. And furniture sales were up 4.1 percent versus just 0.7 percent industrywide.