This time each year, industry experts speculate about the next big advancements that’ll impact consumers and installers. Instead of looking for the next flashy display, gadget, or proof of concept that might never ship, dealers can achieve success in the new year by planning their business growth strategies around homeowner buying trends and desires.
4K ultra high-definition (UHD) displays have seemed like the next must-have technology in our space for the last few years, but adoption has been slower compared to other display technologies, mostly due to a lack of content. Amazon, Apple, Google, and others started making UHD content more accessible than ever before for consumers by adding it to streaming services and devices, making 2019 the year for dealers to capitalize on upgrading their customers’ systems with 4K. Now that it’s at their fingertips, homeowners will be hungry to add it to their theaters. The displays have become more affordable, and dealers can highlight this and the new content options as selling points to offer upgrades or the next must-have to make a home theater last for years to come.
There’s always a new story about the latest product or industry that Millennials are killing — according to Forbes, “Millennials want a better everything.” A study from Entertainment Retail Association shows that they listen to 75 percent more music than prior generations Dealers should take note: This is bolstering the opportunity for audio as this generation is becoming audio enthusiasts with high-resolution streaming, multi-room audio, and the resurgence of the vinyl record format. Dealers can snag this group as a new customer segment for small audio systems, which they can go back to later on for upgrades with networking, smart home, multi-room audio, security, and so on.
The demand for do-it-yourself has been strong, but consumers are beginning to shift away from do-it-yourself and over to do-it-for-me (DIFM), especially with a rise in smart devices for the home. Harvard Business Review reports that the on-demand economy spans a wide demographic, showing “that consumers are attracted by the user experience, added convenience, and other benefits it provides.” The opportunity to install systems is greater than ever for dealers, with the on-demand economy only just beginning its growth. By providing installation, troubleshooting, and remote monitoring services with a local touch, dealers can grow their customer base and sustain more repeat business.
The appetite for home technology is also starting to show in growth of new construction homes being built with starter smart home, security, and other systems. Millennials have become “the most active generation of buyers for the fifth consecutive year,” according to the National Association of Realtors, where a local builder could become a new well of opportunity for dealers. It’s critical that dealers also become involved earlier in the design process as builders, designers, and architects are becoming more involved in our industry; we saw the first signs of it at CEDIA Expo with the new Design Connection Tour. The growth of home technology also means demand for a strong network, another area dealers can focus on for residential installations.
Consumers’ interest in home technology has been piqued by fun gadgets. With the right approach, this is a new opportunity for dealers to take advantage of DIFM tendencies, growing audio enthusiasts, and the desire for better networking and new display technologies. Dealers can leverage distribution for the right products for this variety of new customers to suit any installation at a moment’s notice, grabbing product from a nearby location. Training is also always critical, as dealers must be well-versed and updated to-the-minute on the latest products, install best practices, etc., which they can also look to their local distributor for.
The PowerHouse Alliance supports dealer growth with both product and education from local experts at 36 locations and growing across the country, and competitive pricing on top product they can take advantage of. By this time next year, I look forward to hearing stories of industry and dealer growth, and success from those who follow these trends.