Attitudes: Insights From the Foreign Consumer Market
The IFA Global Press Conference, last week in Alicante Spain, not only provided a preview for the IFA show September 2 to 7 in Berlin, but it offered some insights into global trends that can help U.S. retailers in how they market and merchandise new products throughout the year. Here are some quick takeaways:
Michael Zoeller, Samsung's European director of TV and A/V, barely mentioned "3D" when he talked about the company's new D8000 flagship TV and other products. Instead, he focused on the features and benefits of "Smart TVs" and how smartphones, smart cameras and tablets interoperate to form a connected ecosystem.
"Smart TV is normal TV that offers you more. ... more content, more convergence, more connectivity" he said.
The message is somewhat of a departure from the one most manufacturers have been pushing in the U.S. during the last year, although more have begun to emphasize connected features of products over the last few month. That point is not lost on independent retailers in the U.S. who, in the wake of low 3DTV sales, have also shifted their marketing approach to focus more on the power of connected TVs and related devices.
Consumers, though, at least those in Europe and other parts of the world, still don't care much about either 3D or connected TVs. The most important feature of flat-panel TVs is how thin they are and whether they can be hung on the wall, Paul Gray, DisplaySearch's director of European TV, pointed out in his presentation.
"3D and connected TV have low interest among consumers," he said.
That view in the U.S., though, will begin to change throughout this year as manufacturers adjust their marketing messages to focus on the features, functionality and benefits of connected devices. Manufacturers still have to do a much better job educating the public about connected technologies. It's critical for the process to be then carried out through their retail partners, particular the independent and regional dealers, with more demos and smarter merchandising.