A Year In Review
Consumers not only liked what they saw in lighting, but what they heard in audio, especially HD Radio, which began to challenge satellite radio, dealers said. Sonos’ audio distribution system also gained greater traction in the mainstream market, especially through the company’s partnership with Rhapsody. Those types of partnerships, retailers found, added more value to the solution and boosted overall system sales. Increased networking of content and devices is also helping dealers connect young MP3 owners to higher-quality A/V options. Glikes pointed to Peachtree Audio’s Decco tube integrated amplifier with an onboard digital-to-analog converter as a leading product that supports the trend. “We’re on the cusp of turning all those people with little ear buds in their ears into audiophiles ... if we do it right,” he said.
Buying groups spent the year reshaping their business models, strategies and offerings to better serve their retail customers. Following the pricing chaos that ushered out 2006, the groups also leveraged their operations to allow members to compete more aggressively on price.