DSI executive vice president Jerry Satoren painted a rosier profit-landscape picture for 2012 vs. 2011 for independent dealers who comprise the customer base for the Consumer Electronics division he has headed since a sales reorganization in January separated CE and the company’s satellite businesses into two groups.
Quoting NPD industrywide year-to-date TV sales stats through April that show a 2.3 percent unit sales decline and an 8.9 percent dollar sales decline, he said that the full year could be “flat at best” for the industry.
“This is our world, the rest of the way,” he said. “But opportunity is large” for independents, because large-panel retail pricing has reached “critical mass.” Supporting that statement was his assertion that 60-inch-and-over TV sales have tripled in the same period.
“The 2012 big-screen phenomenon – it’s your sale,” he told dealers during Day One of DSI’s annual Experience trade show in Dallas June 5. “By year end, we’ll be happier over the TV business than we were in 2011.”
Satoren told Dealerscope that DSI’s TV unit sales “are tracking with the industry, but our sales year to date are up almost 14 percent in dollars and that is absolutely attributable to a shift in our screen size mix. Our ASPs are up 20 percent,” because of very-large-screen sales. “It’s all about the main TV in the house, and the independent retailer has as much a play as anybody in the business in getting that sale, because it is an involved and not an impulsive purchase. And that opportunity this year is going to be where the profit is.”
Satoren said factors influencing the TV retail landscape in a positive way include new vendor UPPs and third-party Internet marketplace policies enacted early this spring. “Everyone is paying attention to pricing. The mentality across the board is now about profit. The 2011 race-to-zero point was passed, and it even went below that, with public companies posting shocking results; that’s when everyone got scared. And the key is now not just more highly featured TVs but the size of the TV.” He added the fact that ultra-large screens, because they are not portable, virtually necessitate in-store sale and delivery by knowledgeable, trustworthy independents who “serve a real need in the marketplace, and have been here forever. And they will survive because they can personalize service and localize their business within their markets.”