Bennett Sees Years of Change
Spanning a history that includes time with Commodore, Sony, Codaphone Electronics, Mitsubishi and, since 1989, Hitachi, Gary Bennett, executive vice president of Hitachi America, has seen a lot of change in the consumer electronics arena in his time. In a recent conversation, Bennett, one of this year's Dealerscope Hall of Fame Award winners, talked about some of those changes.
When Bennett started at Sony, there were 8 or 9 million televisions sold in the U.S., the biggest screen size being about 25 inches. Now, manufacturers sell over 20 million sets a year. One of the things he credits for the phenomenal growth of consumer electronics is the development of the VCR. "VCRs really got our industry ignited," he said.
On the retail side, Bennett said he has seen the business go from one of small service-type appliance dealers to the explosion of large national chains with a huge selection of products, while the mass merchants, such as Wal-Mart and Kmart, dominate the smaller-size television market. "So there's a continual evolution of distribution," he said.