Distributors Identify Hottest Product Categories for 2021

While many distributors were unsure of how 2020 would pan out, 2021 is shaping up to be a massive improvement. Here are some hot product categories industry experts suggest keeping an eye on throughout the year.

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Distributors Identify Hottest Product Categories for 2021

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Now that 2020 is firmly in the rearview mirror, AV industry members across the globe are searching for the next big product category to latch onto in hopes of boosting business. To that end, CE Pro asked several of the industry’s top distributors what areas integrators should keep an eye on as the year draws to a close.

CE Pro: Which product categories are you most bullish on for 2021, and why?

Dennis Holzer, Executive Director, PowerHouse Alliance:

I expect to see continued growth and success in the outdoor, networking, surveillance, and display categories. Without question, the networking category has had a major impact on the industry. As consumers continue to make entertainment and home office upgrades within their residences, they’ll look to networking products to support the expanding lineup of connected devices. The ability to work and learn from home will remain important throughout the year so I expect to see the networking category continue to grow in 2021.

As far as the security category goes, I think the industry will continue to see video surveillance trend upwards throughout the remainder of 2021. With an increase in home improvements and the desire to keep the home safe for the whole family, consumers rely on video surveillance devices to give them a consistent view of the activities happening both inside and outside the home. The adoption of video surveillance systems also allows consumers to self-monitor their home if they choose, without having to rely on professional monitoring personnel.

Television displays have been in high demand and I expect this trend will continue through 2021. With constant improvements to video quality and size upgrades available, consumers are looking to displays to accompany their home theater audio upgrades. According to the recently released PowerHouse Alliance white paper, 15% of vendors expect 8K displays to impact the market in 2021.

John Yodzis, President & CEO, DOW Technologies:

We are excited to see 5G begin to roll out. It has been talked and speculated about for so long, and we are finally there. We believe 5G will revolutionize the connected world and should provide tremendous opportunity to our industry in ways we, currently, can’t even imagine.

Wally Whinna, Sr. VP, Local, Snap One:

Networking continues to be an important category as bandwidth demand continues to increase. While employees will be brought back into an office environment it will be only for part of their work week so reliable internet service in the home will continue to be in demand. Home AV has been an extremely strong category showing no signs of decreasing. All categories are showing strong growth; speakers, receivers, TVs and projectors.

Bob Appleby, General Manager North America, ADI:

Over the past year, we saw accelerated activity across all home technology categories. Initially, work from home solutions were most prevalent, but soon after, we saw residential video, whole house audio and outdoor entertainment categories in significant demand. With the increase in home technologies, we saw a strong correlation for more robust home networking solutions. This momentum continued through the first quarter, and we expect it to follow through the second half of 2021.

Since early 2020, we have made three acquisitions to help drive continued growth across these markets. We added Herman Pro AV and Shoreview Distribution to expand our presence in the Pro AV market, and acquired Norfolk Wire & Electronics to expand our offering in the Data Communications market.

These acquisitions provide ADI with new products from key industry brands, greenfield branch locations, a unique Pro AV subcontracting services offering model, and more. And with our branch footprint, scale and resources, we can provide unparalleled access to our newly acquired brands.

Helge Fischer, Executive Director, Catalyst AV:

Networking, surveillance, wire and cable, accessories. If 2020 has proved anything, it is that the home network must be as strong and robust as possible, and that home and business owners need dealer support that is as robust as the systems they are installing.

Kevin Luther, Owner, BlackWire Designs:

We saw a big uptick in networking through 2020 and we expect that trend to continue. It’s apparent that some products were not able to handle the load of a full network when everyone was working and streaming from the home.

Our dealers noticed this too and have shifted away from traditional residential brands and to the enterprise-grade products to support what we all know is the most important foundation for technology in the house. At the end of the day, dealers don’t want to have any issues with their customer’s network. We’ve partnered with Ruckus and Netgate, and hired dedicated staff to supporting those lines.

About the Author

Andrew Nichols
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Andrew Nichols:

Andrew is a journalist and educator living in the Providence area. He was previously the Editor-in-Chief of a gaming and tech website, and the Managing Editor of his university newspaper, The Torch. He received his Bachelors in Writing and Masters in Teaching from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

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