Tag: audio equipment

The Competitive of Entry-level Boom Boxes

boom boxes

Small, inexpensive boom box audio equipment is still selling well despite more expensive compact disc (CD) boom boxes. Owning an inexpensive boom box enables the consumer to take the device outside and leave the CD machine at home. The budget-priced products are also good as a child’s first audio machine. Some manufacturers have marketed brightly colored products for this market. These inexpensive machines cost $29-$39 while the CD machines cost approximately $50.

Always having a Good Market for the Products

Despite the popularity of the CD-based boom box, retailers are finding there is still a market for the entry-level analog tuner-cassette player-type among consumers.

According to John Messina, an electronics buyer for Tops Appliance City, the entry-level boom box has carved out a very distinct niche for itself.

“The whole boom box business has shifted to two arenas, the entry-level product and CD product and there are a lot of [entry-level] units being sold,” he said. At Kmart, units hitting price points between $29 and $39 are doing very well, said Tom Hook, one of the chain’s audio buyers. He said customers are using these devices for utilitarian purposes and not as their main source of mobile entertainment.

The Perfect Choice with an Inexpensive Portable Stereo

Messina agreed saying he believed many people are buying these budget-priced units either as a second boom box that can be taken out without worrying about it being damaged, while saving the more expensive, CD-equipped unit for use around the home. For the same reason an inexpensive portable stereo is perfect as a child’s first stereo, he said.

Currently, a wide variety of manufacturers are targeting the preteen market by producing durable, brightly colored boxes designed to catch the eye as well as be affordable. Sony Corp. has even hit the market with its My First Sony products, targeted at younger children.

  • The Low-Price Portable Stereo Category

Stereo Boombox

Radio Shack has a dedicated line of simple, easy to operate “kiddie boom boxes” selling in the $35 range, said Rick Borinstein, Radio Shack’s vice president of merchandise marketing. He said this category has helped Radio Shack become very successful in the low-price portable stereo category because it increases the number of potential customers.

“We put a special emphasis on this [the boom-box] area,” said Borinstein, adding the company uses a double-focus approach in its marketing, the children’s products and those for older customers.

Radio Shack further subdivides its marketing approach enabling it to hit many price points. For example Radio Shack has four basic configurations of boom boxes; single cassette and dual cassette units either with or without CD capability.

The market for the very low-priced boom box is definitely still there, said another retailer, mainly because it is still the most inexpensive way to carry music around. He added that despite the drop in the price of CD boom boxes he does not foresee the disappearance of the diminutive box with only a few features.

  • More Expensive Boom Boxes

Manufacturers ranging from the St. Louis, Mo.-based Gran Prix Electronics to Aiwa America Inc. are setting their sights on this segment of the market. Gran Prix has several CD models, some with breakaway speakers, with suggested prices below $50.

Aiwa has even added a wireless remote control to models in this price range, giving customers a feature normally found on more expensive boom boxes.

  • The Intermediate Priced Versions

However, several retailers said the success of the both the budget-priced box and high-end CD type has been made at the expense of the intermediate priced unit.

These models are usually equipped with dual tape wells and Hooks said sales of these items are now flat and he expects that in about a year there will be a large downturn in this area. With prices sitting at $99 for a good quality, yet entry-level CD player that also includes a tape deck, people are opting to buy these products instead of spending the same amount and getting fewer features. Radio Shack said it still does a fair business with dual deck types, said Borinstein.

The Dropping Trend of Low CD Boom Box Prices

Hooks added that customers have not even seen how low CD boom box prices might still drop. Kmart already has one brand at $88 and somewhere down the road he predicted well-known name brand units could be at $79.

Borinstein said he was not certain in where this CD category will eventuate, “but at this time if your product is not in the $100 range it cannot compete.”

The High-Impact Quality of Audio Equipment

Audio equipment

Car and home audio equipment manufacturers have discovered the high-impact quality of television and are suddenly choosing to promote themselves through that medium. Kenwood launched the largest ad campaign of its history with its first television spots in fall 1994. Fisher Inc has created a 30-minute infomercial for its Studio 24 CD changer system that stars singer Alice Cooper and his mother.

For many industries, advertising their goods on television is as customary as fireworks on the Fourth of July, but until recently TV has been pretty much foreign territory for many home- and car-audio manufacturers.

Continuously Up-to-date Strategies of Manufacturer

More exposure for the company name and the immediate impact TV can have on consumers were among the reasons industry executives cited for the recent upsurge in commercials. Audiovox Corp., Fisher Inc. and Bose Corp. are first-time TV advertisers with commercials pushing specific products, joining Kenwood, which has kicked off its largest campaign ever.

According to Bob Law, Kenwood U.S.A. Inc.’s national marketing manager, the recent increase in TV commercials is in response to an industry wide realization of the need for more self-promotion and the fact most of those who make up the company’s main customer base simply don’t read much.

In light of this, Kenwood has jumped on the TV bandwagon and this fall started its largest ad campaign ever. It also marked the first time Kenwood has ever been on broadcast stations. The ads are targeted at increasing the company’s name recognition among consumers and not specific products. “We live in a TV age. A lot more people watch TV than read and to reach the kids, who are our main customer base, the best way is to be on TV,” said Law.

High-end Prestige Line – One of Famous Products

Audiovox Corp. also has made its TV debut via a pair of commercials touting its high-end Prestige line of autosound and car security products. The campaign started Nov. 1 and will run throughout the fourth quarter on cable channels such as MTV, CNN and Lifetime.

“The company recognized that consumer ads are important, but never before put the dollars against that recognition. Right now this is not being done on a grand scale, we admit, but you have to start somewhere,” said Ann Boutcher, Audiovox’s vice president of marketing.

The two Audiovox spots are targeted at specific demographic audiences, with the audio ad running on MTV and aimed at 17 to 25 year olds while the car security spot on CNN and Lifetime is for the more mature viewer. Both feature a toll-free number through which the customer can receive a product catalog and the location of the nearest Audiovox retailers.

Boutcher said response to the ads has been extremely high with hundreds of calls having been received. In response, the company has already budgeted funding for more commercials.

Several Inc. with Their High Standard of Providing

Last spring Bose ran the first ad for its high-end Wave table radio and followed it up with a second spot that kicked off in August that runs on cable and other channels. Alex Campbell, Bose’s vice president of marketing, said customer response to the ads has been positive and, since the Wave radio is only sold direct from Bose, reaching the highest number of people possible is imperative. “We clearly get a better response from TV due to the number of households reached,” he said.

  • Fisher Inc

Another company sold on the benefits of TV advertising is Fisher Inc., which is taking a somewhat different approach by running a 30-minute infomercial featuring rock star Alice Cooper and his mother for its Studio 24 CD changer system. The program gives both an explanation of the product and tells the viewer where the unit is locally available.

“Since we started, more branded companies have begun using it as a vehicle to talk directly with the public,” he said, pointing to Philips Consumer Electronics’ use of the format to hype its CD-i multimedia system.

Shoemaker said he was able to gauge the infomercial’s impact first-hand during a visit to a local electronics retailer. He observed a couple looking at a Studio 24-equipped rack system and heard them tell the salesman they were interested in the product because of the advertisement.

“These people understood the product and came in pre-sold. This is the biggest difference between TV and print campaigns. People don’t always read the whole ad so they may not understand the product,” he said.

  • Philips Consumer Electronics Inc.

One company with a long history of TV advertising is Philips Consumer Electronics Inc., which has placed its Magnavox audio products on the air each fall. Using ads with a healthy dose of humor, John Cleese of Monty Python fame starred in last year’s campaign. Philips decided upon a new direction for 1994, however. It dropped Cleese, replaced the name recognition spots with a trio that are product-specific, and skewed the commercials toward a younger audience.

“We wanted to retain the humor, but drop the comic. We wanted the product to be the star,” a company spokesman said, adding the spots have been running on all the networks, specifically on sports programs as well as the David Letterman and Jay Leno shows. The spots cover the company’s sevendisc CD audio systems, Remote Locator and Smart Sound products. All use the Magnavox Smart-Very-Smart tagline and emphasize the product’s high level of technology.

  • Pioneer Electronics Inc.

Another proponent of TV advertising is Pioneer Electronics Inc., which just ended its third national ad campaign. According to Jim Wallace, manager of advertising and promotion for car electronics, Pioneer attempts to work in conjunction with its dealers whenever the commercials are running.

“We try to get our dealers to buy local time to run along with our ads,” he said, adding this one-two punch approach has been getting good results.

“Cable is much more efficient for us. To go national on the networks is costly and not a lot of programming is out there that reaches the 18 to 34 year olds; it is especially hard to reach them with print because they’re not doing any reading,” Wallace said.