Car audio retailers are adjusting to new product release schedules this holiday as suppliers offer next year’s products ever earlier the year prior.
Pioneer began delivering some 2013 car radios in August, in its earliest schedule to date. Suppliers including Sony and Kenwood also shipped products prior to January.
While it’s now commonplace to ship entry level CD product in the fall instead of January, this year Pioneer also introduced new DVD receivers early, (in November), as DVD receivers are now low enough in price to be a gifted item.
“Given now where we’re at with CD and entry level DVD, really for the first time in my memory, we have the opportunity to be on a Christmas shopping list with a fully featured $300 DVD receiver or $150 CD receivers,” said Pioneer’s Ted Cardenas.
Also it gives a DVD receiver the chance to compete with a remote starter as a holiday gift.
Mehdi Narimanian of Sound of Tri-State (3-stores), said “With new product, you don’t get bashed online as quickly. That was a good protection, bringing in Pioneer early.” But he added, “It was a lot of work getting the new product in and getting them on display and getting rid of the old stuff.”
In some ways, the early shipping makes holiday planning easier, said retailers. You don’t have to precisely calculate how much 2012 inventory to carry during the holidays without being left with old stock for the new year.
“It alleviates the problem of trying to have enough inventory for the holidays and at the same time worrying about all the product being discounted and the transitions right after the holidays. Now I can load up for the holidays because [inventory] is not going to go bad in 30 days,” said J.R. Stocks of Freeman’s Stereo Video (7-stores).
Some retailers said they don’t like the new schedule of clearing out inventory just before the holidays and that its difficult to get product training in time to sell the new products for Christmas.
Of the opposing view is Tom Sweere of Beach Autosound who is considering switching vendors to those who ship early. “You have to plan for it… but we love it. We’ll shift some of our business to those vendors that are shipping now.”