It’s Been a Rough Winter For Audio/Video

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Some retailers and distributors are reporting signs of a rebound after a rough winter where frigid temps and record snow fall caused a 13 percent decline in car audio sales for January and February compared to the same two months a year ago, according to The NPD Group.

By comparison, sales of TVs also saw an 8 percent decline, despite a “fairly compelling Super Bowl and the Olympics,” noted NPD’s Ben Arnold.  He added, “It could be natural fluctuations of the category but I would also absolutely consider the weather being a factor.”

It should be noted that NPD does not track remote starter sales, which were up significantly this winter due to the colder temps, according to industry members.

However, NPD said in-dash players were down 10 percent in dollars and speakers were down 5 percent for the first two months compared to a year ago.

States from Texas to Maine were hit with unusually cold weather this winter.   Heavy snowfalls  also shut down businesses on several occasions, and consumers sheltered at home.

“We lost four days, but the residual effects were longer than that. We do a lot of car dealer expeditor work.  We lost their business,” said Jodi DiFazio of Jo-Di’s who noted that car dealers were busy moving cars around before each snow storm and then were occupied cleaning snow off cars for days afterwards.    The upswing in remote start sales was not enough to offset the many lost days of overall sales. She notes however that the chain is starting to see an upswing in sales and and consumers are starting to spend their tax refunds.  Her comments are typical of several dealers and distributors around the Northeast and Midwest.

Total car audio sales to consumers in 2013 were down over 15 percent in dollars with unit sales down just over 14 percent, according to NPD. Amplifier sales were up 3 percent in dollars and 5 percent in units. Speaker sales rose 1.4 percent in dollars.  But in dash players were down by almost 9 percent in dollars and mobile navigation fell by 26 percent, (mobile navigation may include portable navigation devices).

Source: CEoutlook, NPD

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