What Retail Buyers Want: Consumer Technology  1/15/2018

We're living in an increasingly connected world, and because of this, shoppers are demanding smarter gadgets, whether they are for work, school, or entertainment. You’ll see many of these connected devices at ECRM’s upcoming Consumer Technology EPPS, as well as accessories to store, carry, and clean or repair them.

According to comments from the more than 120 buyers attending the upcoming session, following are some key areas of focus:

Wearable fitness items: Electronic devices and accessories for the fitness enthusiast, including activity trackers, smart watches, sports headphones, and accessories for carrying these items.

Premium products AND value products: Buyers are interested in finding innovative products at both ends of this price spectrum; some are seeking out high-end technology, particularly when it comes to speakers and headphones for audiophiles, while others are looking for a lower priced items for shoppers on a budget or that can be merchandised for impulse sales.

Impulse/deal items: Speaking of impulse items, buyers are seeking out products that can be merchandised via power wings, clip strips, shippers, etc., or that can be sold as limited availability special offers.

Gift items: Consumer technology products that are ideal for the holiday season and gifting, and buyers are looking for merchandising programs for the fourth quarter holiday season.

New and emerging consumer technology: Never-seen-before categories of products that will help buyers to differentiate their offerings when included in their assortments.

Back to school/educational toys: Products for the back-to-school season, such as storage mediums, calculators, and other accessories ideal for college students or their dorms (think portable speakers and gaming products) as well as educational products and toys aimed at kids.

Home entertainment: Audio, video, gaming devices, or accessories for these types of items. As mentioned above, many consumers are looking for the best sound possible, and according to The NPD Group's Retail Tracking Service, since 2014, high resolution (hi-res) audio devices have experienced steady growth with U.S. dollar sales increasing 77 percent in 2016 compared to 2014 and unit sales more than doubling over the same time period (118 percent growth). Year to date through June, stereo headphones are the fastest-growing hi-res audio category with 64 percent U.S. dollar growth when compared to the first half of 2016. Stereo headphones now make up 13 percent of the hi-res audio market, behind only receivers & amplifiers and sound bars

Private Label: Products that can be packaged and marketed under the retailer’s own brand labels.

Smart phone and tablet accessories: Accessories for carrying, storing, organizing, protecting and cleaning smartphones and accessories are always in demand by consumers, particularly as these devices become more expensive and hold more of our private information.

Drones: With drone technology dropping in cost, we can expect to see more of them making their way into mass retail, which specialty consumer tech retailers will look for hi-tech drones with more functionality.

Connect with these buyers in private, pre-scheduled, in-person meetings!

Melinda Young

SVP of General Merchandise

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