For regional CE and appliance dealers, the 2007 holiday selling season was more than a preamble to the usual new year full of unknown business influences. Dealers we polled are sensing that this is an industry on the brink of real upheaval: 2008 will usher in the last full year of analog broadcasting, a presidential election period that promises change, and an uncertain economy plagued by a shaky housing market, a credit crunch and high fuel prices. So we asked them how they fared during the holidays, how they see 2008 shaping up and what they were doing to gird themselves for what promises to be challenging times ahead. Here are some of their insights:
Dealerscope: What products or technologies were the real profit drivers for you toward the end of last year and what do you see driving profits through 2008?
Albert Liniado, Datavision: Based on what happened toward the end of 2007, I think flat-panel prices will continue to drop. Apple sales did very well, although we hadn’t been able to carry the iPhone. MP3 was also very strong, as was LCDs and the smaller notebooks. And gaming systems were just unbelievable this year. Wii was above all, but availability was a little spotty at the holidays, and Xbox did well. PS3 was also good.