Tablets, Bluetooth Speakers Drive D&H Holiday Sales
Distributor predicts its Q4 sales will surpass industry expectationsNovember 1, 2013 By Jeff O'Heir
D&H Distributing expects its holiday-related CE revenue to grow between 5 to 6 percent over last year, based in part on increased sales of tablets, Bluetooth portable speakers, small housewares, action cameras, and some emerging tech categories.
The distributor and its smaller CE retail customers, however, won't benefit too much from what's expected to be a holiday gaming console category because the allocation of two key products, Xbox One and Playstation 4, will be severely constrained.
The Consumer Electronics Association forecasts CE holiday sales to grow about 2.6%, a slight drop from last year's 4 percent. Exceptional growth in certain categories, such as a 120 percent increase in tablet sales, are helping D&H to beat the industry average, Rob Eby, D&H's vice president of purchasing, said at the distributor's Mid-Atlantic Fall Technology show in Hershey, Pa.
New tablet form factors (smaller, thinner, lighter), the stabilization of the Android platform, and overlays that customize the devices for targeted demographics such as children, are helping to increase sales, Eby said.
The latest round of content streaming and networking devices, such as WD's TV Live and Actiontec's MyWirelessTV HD Receiver and Wireless Network Extender, are also selling well, Eby said.
Although media streamers have been available to consumers for almost 10 years, they have generally suffered from balky performance and were difficult to set up. Higher-bandwidth home networks, reduced file degradation, intuitive user interfaces and better overall technology have greatly improved the products, Eby said.
Cost-saving devices such as the Nest Thermostat are also selling well for D&H, with strong sales continuing into the holidays, Eby said. Those types of products are opening up new services for CE retailers who can charge to install them and then upsell the customer on additional products once they are inside the home.
"It gives the dealers an opportunity to do something they normally wouldn't be able to do, and it's a simple installation," Eby said.
New lighting solutions, such as GE's line of LED bulbs and Smart Electric's Smart Bulbs, are also selling well, Eby said.
While shipments of gaming consoles are expected to jump about 50 percent this holiday season, to 14.9M from 10.7 million last year, allocation of the category's two main drivers, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, are going mainly to the biggest of the big-box retailers.