Mobile Electronics Roundtable
SW: The push toward entertainment into family vehicles with rear-seat entertainment systems is obviously an identifiable trend. We just completed a fairly extensive analysis of the business and product desire trends. Number one, we are seeing strong evidence in the youth market of interest in sound systems. Notwith-standing the spectacular growth of video, the amplifier and speaker business is increasing in our industry right now, and it's also maintaining very stabilized price-points, which is all good news, particularly if you compare and contrast in-dash CD, which continues to fall in terms of price-points. Therefore, maintaining dollar volume levels is becoming difficult for both manufacturers and retailers. It's clear that if we as an industry can package our message, and make a good value proposition to the youth market about sound systems, amps and speakers will continue to be an area of growth.
CC: In your view, and within your company, what are the hottest product categories that you see now and that will emerge in the future?
LI: What I see is an emergence of lifestyle trend issues. We talked about mobile video being a family deal. When I'm in Brooklyn, I see a status symbol in how large your wheels are and how many screens [you have], how many flip-downs you have in your urban assault vehicle. So we see lifestyle in the youth market. In The Fast and the Furious, whenever the camera scans on the pulsating woofer, we saw their sales grow tremendously across the country. I believe there's tremendous growth [opportunity] in woofer sales and amplifier sales as the convergence of video and audio entertainment becomes part of a lifestyle trend for our buyers. One of the issues is how we can deliver that message and keep our dealers strong through these difficult times. The dealers that are not forgetting how they got into business and what's kept them in business are actually doing well. A certain retailer opened up in the Atlanta market in the last 60 days, and there was in excess of 200 people standing at the door waiting for the doors to open. Michigan has been hurt very hard by a lot of the imports and a lot of the big three and a half, yet that market is still doing very well. I believe that if we can identify the trends, we can all prosper.