Some suppliers and distributors are seeing such strong sales since April in states such as Texas, Georgia, and the Carolinas, that they are now up against product shortages in those markets.
While parts of the country are still in various stages of lock down, other areas are seeing unexpectedly strong sales, due, in part to the Federal stimulus checks. Boss Audio, LESCO Distributing, SSR Distributing, Ultimate Marketing and others confirmed that this has led to shortages in select areas.
Amir Dhanani, Manager at SSR Distributors out of Houston said bluntly, “I cant find enough product. Business is booming. At this point, anything you got on the shelf is selling. We got rid of a lot of old merchandise and now we’re having to replace it. Inventory-wise we’re down 40 to 45 percent from where we should be..” He added that the shortages are across the board. But even with the shortages, SSR is now even with last year’s sales, year to date.
Ultimate Marketing of South Carolina agreed. President Kevin Holder said the distributor could probably move an additional 30 to 35 percent in sales if not for the lack of some of the more popular products, or “that 20 percent of products that accounts for 80 percent of your business,” said Holder.
For Boss Audio, the shortages are mainly in amplifiers at brick and mortar locations, and head units for online customers. “I think people are buying head units online and then they go to get them installed and say, ‘Oh, and I can have an amplifier,’” said Boss VP Sales and Marketing Doug Kern. He’s seeing larger recurring orders in Houston and Dallas, as well as in Georgia and North Carolina.
Mike Cofield, President of Custom Sounds, based in TX with 19 stores, said it’s seeing spot shortages from Pioneer on new products that are slow to come in, on Rockford motorcycle products, and on products from Kenwood, which had, until recently, been prevented from shipping due to California shelter in place laws. He said Alpine, Elettromedia, JL Audio, Kicker and JBL supplies were fine.
But he noted that the ability of members of the Mobile Electronics Specialists of America (MESA) buying/marketing group to share product has seen him and other dealers through recent months. “When a particular guy has a shortage, he sends an email and other members send him supply to tide him over. That’s been a real big thing…It has been a boon to a lot of guys who would have run out,” and also helped dealers who had too much product to move through it.
Tint World Longwood, FL Owner Pete Muller said his only shortages are in Kenwood product, which should be on its way next week. “Our head unit display is nearly empty.” He added, “Last week was the busiest week of the year; it’s not just back to normal, it’s surpassing normal and this is primarily in car stereo, but everything is busy,” Muller said.
Freeman’s Car Stereo, NC is selling ahead of projections with shortages on Kenwood as it ramps up shipments and some Kicker products and speaker enclosures. Dave Wall said the shortages may be the result of many factors. “For us, we’re definitely selling more sales than we projected originally. For us, we’re not breaking records, but having strong sales. At the end of March we were anticipating being slower than now,” said CEO Dave Wall.
He believes the increased sales is not only due to stimulus money but also the extra $600/week received by people on unemployment. “And there are people working from home not paying for gas and not eating out for lunch and their state having some degree of lockdown so not every retailer is open, so folks are having more money in their pockets and fewer places to spend it.”
Others reported shortages in powersports products, especially soundbars.
LESCO’s Neil Brookmyer said the shortages are most severe in Texas.
Pioneer Electronics and Sony Car Audio said they could not comment on shortages and Alpine said it was unable to meet our deadline.
Photo: SSR Distributors