By Keith Lehmann
The aftermarket mobile electronics industry still has opportunities to capture new business and become more relevant to the connected consumer.
It is also clear that industry-wide awareness initiatives don’t work. Also, our products don’t always meet customer expectations and we are not attracting enough new customers to appreciate what we sell.
Funny thing…we have an example of another consumer electronics industry that had been facing the same issues but made significant structural changes in product, merchandising and messaging and is now doing quite well in a relative sense. Maybe we can learn something…
The home theater business was booming in the late 80’s and early 90’s – just like the mobile electronics business did at the time. Price erosion, market saturation, better sound coming from video monitors, lack of product innovation and a general “so what” attitude from many consumers caused a severe revenue decline to the point where multiple retailers closed, many brands exited the category and the business was consigned to fail.
Then technology changed. Wires disappeared, signals were transmitted through walls, setup became easy, sound performance improved, different music became available in different rooms, integration with smartphones became nearly seamless, adding functionality such as home security and automation was a snap…the home theater industry became the “home technology and lifestyle integration” industry.
This did not happen overnight. But it did happen and it is growing. Even if you strip out the non-home theater revenue, today this once-failing industry grew over 15% in 2013 and is now more than triple the size of the mobile electronics business in the U.S. And it is projected to grow again in 2014.
Imagine what will happen when new in-car technologies and new connected consumers intersect with a fresh outlook from manufacturers and retailers to capture a broadening worldwide base of connected consumers. See more on this topic from Lehmann in coming days.
Keith Lehmann is a 30-year veteran of the consumer electronics industry. Lehmann was most recently Executive Vice President of Kenwood USA Corporation and in charge of the company’s consumer electronics sector for over ten years. Today, Lehmann is a consumer electronics industry consultant and advisor to companies, organizations and media outlets.