IFA Opening Press Conference: Online Distributing is Not a ThreatAugust 30, 2012 By Jack Cotter
The IFA opening press conference included the German Association for Entertainment and Communications Electronics (gfu)'s Dr. Rainer Hecker who reminded the audience that while the CE market in 2012 has been influenced by finance and debt crisis it is a $1,100 billion industry and the U.S. market grew at 2%. He also explained how despite online retail, brick and mortar dealers have an opportunity to demonstrate full solutions and enter multiple areas of the consumer's home.
Several key global growth figures include: TV sets at 232 million units (2.8% growth), smart TVs at 89 million units (48%), 3DTVs at 43 million units (117%), TV sets of 50-inches or more at 15 million units (25%), tablet PCs at 106 million units (68%), and smartphones at 700 million units (62%).
Product trends to watch are tablets, smartphones, and connected smart TVs, HDTVs, 3DTVs, 4K and OLED. When asked, Dr. Hecker believes it will still be 2 to 3 years until glasses-less 3DTV will be available for product offers.
Although shares of online purchases of CE products vary globally between 1% (Africa), 14% (Europe) and 19% (USA), Dr Heckler does not believe online distributing is a threat. "The Specialized Trade is still part of the picture, even if customers do shop online." noted Dr. Hecker. In Germany, 30% of consumers look online for information but only buy after consulting a classic retail store. "intelligent concepts for industry's cooperation with the trade are required," said Dr. Hecker.
Dr. Hecker sees the changing nature of TV use with the second screen as an example of the opportunity for added value and profit for retailers. Customers are prepared to pay more if dealers can show them full solutions. As long as dealers stay up-to-date, invest in shops, it will also lead to installation orders.
"I'm really convinced that dealers who are open-minded with these new products and new applications can convince the consumer there is a benefit, there is an added value for you. With these kinds of products you can make profit because the consumer is prepared to pay more for quality, ease of use, individual design and other aspects." Dr. Hecker elaborated.
"It's a special characteristic and requirement for the dealer to have the know-how, skills, the competence, and that he's up-to-date with the new products. That he has the right presentation - not only of the products in any corner -- presentation with the right applications and to convince the consumer 'you can do this very easily, you can do that very easily.'
[The dealer] has to invest in his shop so that he can generate shopping pleasure. Then he can also enlarge his business with installation orders, with service orders. If a dealer enters the livingrooms of the customers then he has a chance to also look to other areas of his business, for example multi-room solutions, not only based on audio but also including video and so on."