Did the $600 Stimulus Help 12 Volt?

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$600 Stimulus Impact

Few car audio dealers saw a boost in sales from the $600 stimulus payments issued earlier this month.  But a $1,400 stimulus, as proposed in Congress, might have a major impact, they said.

Out of more than 35 retailers queried on Facebook’s Mobile Electronics Syndicate, about four said they saw an impact from the recent stimulus.

Other dealers we called around the country also saw little effect, with a few exceptions.

Sound Warehouse’s Dean Magnussen noticed “a little bit of bump.  If it’s a family of five, it’s $3,000. We did get a bump the first two weeks in January. Sales were considerably above the same period last year.”

Many dealers said they are still up by double digits over last year and are preoccupied with keeping up with the extra business. Pete Riker of The Specialists, AZ, with four stores, said, “For us, business is still crazy. Still up.  We can’t keep anything on the shelves. We need to hire more installers and can’t find anybody. It’s crazy out there.  Our sales guys can’t keep up with how many people are coming in to spend money.”

Soundcrafters, FL; Car Tunes, MI and more than one Tint World shop reported similar booms in sales.

Pete Muller, owner of Tint World in Longwood, FL said, “Business still has not slowed down since the initial boost began last year. It’s already way up for January. Every month has been a record month with no sign of slowing down (yet).  In Orlando, I think it wasn’t necessarily the stimulus. It’s the fact that our entire city is built on tourism, events, concerts, theme parks, etc… and since people can’t do those things, they’re spending money in other places, like their cars. That’s my best guess at least.”

But dealers sing a different tune when it comes to the $1,400 stimulus program proposed by Congress.

Nate Kubicz of Car Tunes in Detroit said, “$1,400, I think it would make a huge difference.”  But he worried about having enough inventory to support the boom in sales. “If $1,400 hits and we rewind back to summer of 2020, I’m sure we won’t have enough product. “

Ata Ehdaivand of Absolute Electronix, MD said, “I’m sure we would see $1,400 tickets all day long.”

Sound Warehouse, UT said the $1,400 stimulus could result in a month’s worth of 20 percent gains, where the first $1,200 stimulus package produced about a 25 percent gain for about a month, he said.

In the meantime, many dealers are still ahead of a year ago in sales.

American Radio, GA is still up by 10 percent over a year ago.  Sound Warehouse had its best December in 42 years.   Car Tunes, Detroit was up by double digits in December and January, and Columbus Car Audio, OH is still up by about 20 percent.  Apicella Auto Sound, NY said it was tracking 40 percent ahead of last year for January.


Photo credit: Forbes

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