Dealerscope: What marketplace issues will influence your buying group membership’s business the most this year (gas prices, the election, amount of disposable income, etc.) – and why?
Jon Robbins, Executive Director, Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA): Obviously, the stock market’s getting hit for a variety of reasons, and then there’s oil, and the global economy. What’s interesting, for our channel, is that there could be a reduction in interest rates due to the market taking a hit and [being] in an adjustment period. If the interest rates drop more, that will help new-home sales and existing-home sales. If we are out marketing and letting people know we offer a unique proposition, we actually feel pretty good about our prospects for growing our businesses.
Hank Alexander, Director, HTSN (Home Technology Specialists of Nationwide): In certain parts of the U.S., the economy feels kind of soft. Gas prices are good for consumers but it’s damaging for certain markets – just like having $5-a-gallon gas was damaging for the marketplace. A dollar or $1.50 is great when you go and fill up, but it’s really hard on those oil-producing states. And certainly, that part of the economy gives us concern, that gas prices are artificially low and so we worry about how that affects the economy in those markets.