Retail Observer

October 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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Page 47 of 67

RETAILOBSERVER.COM OCTOBER 2021 48 D espite some serious external and economic challenges over the past year-plus, retailers of furniture, bedding and appliances have seen exceedingly high demand for their products. Not to be outdone, custom integrators and retailers of consumer electronics have had their own business boost as consumers look to make their at-home lives more efficient with smart home technology. Nationwide Marketing Group wanted to get a better understanding of just how well our custom integrators performed during the pandemic, so we recently conducted a full-scale survey of the segment. And what they told us was nothing short of remarkable, given the circumstances they've had to work through. Over the past year, our Home Technology Specialists Nationwide (HTSN) dealers saw their businesses grow – plain and simple. Over 93% said their business was either up or remained steady since March 2020. And a vast majority (63%) said they expect that momentum to continue through 2021. Just 3% of our dealers expect business to decline this year. To be clear, the types of technology we're talking about aren't your basic DIY products like smart light bulbs or plug-and-play security cameras or thermostats. Custom integration professionals, like our HTSN dealers, install fully automated smart home systems where all connected devices work seamlessly together, no matter what room the user happens to be in. That includes the networks that support the devices. And forget needing to keep 30 different apps "organized" in a folder on your phone. These professionals will get the system integrated into a single hub for the users. The HTSN Report dove deeper into the specific categories of product our dealers found the most success with over the past year and a half. Not surprisingly, the three strongest-performing segments were the same three that garnered the most attention during the pandemic – video, audio and networking. Home theaters made quite a comeback, especially early-on, as movie theaters were closed and consumers sought ways to recreate that experience in their homes. Looking ahead, HTSN dealers identified networking as the category with the most potential. Again, not much of a surprise to those familiar with current trends. Consumers' current home network setups were put through the wringer over the past year-plus, and with more people working from home, and more smart devices being added to their networks on a regular basis, the in-home network needs to be upgraded to handle the added stress. The HTSN Report did uncover one interesting aside about the smart home. Despite all the attention received by voice control, consumers still don't seem to have much interest in the technology. Less than half of HTSN dealers (46%) said their clients show an interest in the technology. That could be because of security concerns about having these devices in the home to begin with, or simply a general lack of understanding about how the technology can simplify the smart home experience. Regardless, there are two runaway favorites among consumers when it comes to the voice-enabled smart system: Amazon and Google. Alexa and Google Assistant devices are supported by 88% and 75% of HTSN dealers respectively. Apple's Siri was a distant third at 33%, and pro-channel-focused brand checked in at 8%. At the end of the day, custom integration projects are driving revenue for HTSN dealers. According to the HTSN Report, the typical project can range between $10,000-$30,000, and dealers are completing over 30 of these projects per year. Want to learn more about the HTSN Report? You can download a free copy at Feel free to reach out to me as well for help with any of your custom integration or smart home questions: Hank Alexander Consumer Electronic Trends Hank Alexander Director HTSN - Home Technology Specialists Nationwide Nationwide Marketing Group THE SMART HOME IS THRIVING RIGHT NOW

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