Consumers Moving To Premium Brands Say CE Retailers

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Australian consumer electronics retailers are moving back to premium branded products as opposed to cheap brands that have been used to drive prices down.According to a survey by  ChannelNews several retail groups including Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi have been “pleasantly surprised” at how easy it has been to sell premium priced docks, TV’s and headphones running into Xmas.

Among the most popular of the premium has been a $10,000 TV from Samsung, $500 headphones from Sennheiser and a range of docks that sell for $500 and over.

Samsung officials recently revealed that 50% of their products are coming from less than 20% of their home entertainment range with their $9,950 75″ TV running out of stock at several stores prior to Xmas.

Recently JB Hi-Fi CEO Terry Smart heralded an end to the aggressive discounting that has seen retailers go head to head with a stack it high sell it low strategy that has seen profits stripped from many retailers bottom line.

Smart said he did not expect a repeat of last year’s extended price-cutting campaigns across the electronics sector in 2013.

Smart said prices of goods were stabilising on the back of a successful push over the past few years to bring prices in line with JB Hi-Fi’s international competitors. “In the long-term we have to be globally competitive, so we have gone to suppliers to achieve as close to global pricing as possible,” Mr Smart told BusinessDaily.

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New $1,000 Sennheiser in ear headphones shown at CES.

“It’s still very aggressive, but we are not seeing those really heavy 50 per cent discounts.”

A leading Harvey Norman franchisee said “We have been really surprised that consumers have opened up their wallets by purchasing premium products over other products. There appears to be a real flight back to premium brands which is good for both retailers and vendors”.

Several buyers that ChannelNews spoke to said that they were “revaluating” their ranges for 2013 to included new branded products that they had seen at the CES show.

Scott Browning the Marketing Director of JB hi Fi said recently “We have seen demand for premium products grow recently and this is a good thing. Consumers are prepared to pay for a quality product especially if the brand means something to them”.

Recently LG lifted the price of their new 84″ Ultra High Definition TV from a PR launch price of $15,900 to $17,600.

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