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HTSA Members Report Healthy 10% Growth for 2013

Nealry two-thirds of Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) buying group members reported revenue growth in 2013. Meanwhile, the group is being encouraged to look at more commercial A/V and IT market potential.


As part of the opening panel discussion at the HTSA Spring Conference, CEA's chief economist Shawn Dubravac (standing) showed evidence of several factors that negatively affected consumer electronics sales in Q1 of 2014, including the terrible weather.
Jason Knott · March 27, 2014

Before the dreaded polar vortex of 2014 hit in full swing, members of the Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) buying group reported finishing off 2013 in strong fashion. Cumulatively, the 62 members of HTSA had 10 percent revenue growth last year, according to managing director Bob Hana, who kicked off the group’s Spring Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., with a state of the industry report.

“HTSA has never been stronger and healthier,” says Hana. Overall, 65 percent of the members had sales growth in 2013, and “most of those had double-digit growth,” he adds. Also, HTSA’s authorized vendors reported 70 percent sales growth last year from the group.

But then came the winter of 2014 where record snowfall combined with record cold gripped the Midwest and entire East Coast.

“This winter has been wacky. It has been torturous. I can never remember a time when trucks couldn’t roll and showrooms couldn’t open,” says Hana. Dealers in attendance from the affected areas echoed that sentiment, using terms such as “brutal” and “devastating” to describe Q1.

Shawn Dubravac, chief economist for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), addressed attendees as part of the opening panel discussion at the event, held under the theme “Contagious Synergy,” that the winter has had serious effect on the purchase of durable goods so far this year, including electronics.

“Q1 is always bad for consumer spending because consumers re-trench after the holidays. This trend will continue and only get worse in the future because the holiday buying season now starts in September,” he says, “plus the slowdown from the bad weather.”

Related: HTSA Unveils New Lead-Gen Management System for Members

Dubravac showed holiday specials that Kmart and Wal-Mart launched last year on September 12 and 13 as evidence of the early holiday buying pattern, which he says actually hurts holiday spending overall, especially in December. Electronics account for 18 percent of all durable goods, which include appliances and cars also, that are purchased. He also cited “overnight” sales that online etailers are now running, such as an h.h. gregg sale last year that ran from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. only.

“Those types of sales will affect your business. I expect to see more of them in 2014 and 2015,” he says. On the bright side, Dubravac points to tablet sales, health and fitness electronics, and wearables as growing trends.

Getting HTSA Members into Commercial Markets
Meanwhile also as part of the opening panel, HTSA members were encouraged to look at the commercial market more heavily. Tom Bambrick and Eric Kenyon of Ingram Micro, owners of AVAD and other consumer electronics firms, spoke to attendees about the growing potential of the commercial market and encouraged HTSA members to “get a piece of that pie.”

Using data from various sources, including InfoComm, the duo says in 2015 the pro A/V market will reach $44 billion in sales (up from $23.2 billion in 2009). Meanwhile, 40 percent of that ($17.6 billion) will be for “services,” meaning installation and ongoing maintenance. That commercial revenue data dwarfs the much smaller estimated $1.4 billion market for residential electronics in 2015 (albeit with a 10 percent increase vs. 2012).

“Prices of equipment will continue to come down. There are more commercial VARs (value added resellers) serving both enterprise SMB (small to medium businesses) and residential than ever before,” says Bambrick. Kenyon highlighted videoconferencing or unified communications as an important category for integrators to be in, with predicted growth of 25 percent.

So is HTSA encouraging members to do more commercial? “There is a blurring of the lines taking place [between residential and commercial],” says Hana. “Half of our vendor community is selling commercial solutions, and a fair percentage of our members are doing commercial work also. I am not talking about the bid-out K-12 business; I am talking about corporate board rooms or hotel foyer. My job is to bring potential benefits to the members so we will see where it goes.”



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  About the Author

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at jason.knott@emeraldexpo.com

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