Local Manufacturers of mounts and lifters for large screen TV’s are set to come under pressure from a new generation of products that are seen as being “far more efficient and cosmetically more appealing” than mounts coming out of engineering companies like Ultralift and Screen Technics.
During the past 12 months several overseas companies such as Vogel, Omnimount and Canohm have grown market share in Australia off the back of the boom in demand for large screen TVs.
The overseas developed mounts are seen by consumers as being “cosmetically appealing” according to Len Wallis of Len Wallis Audio in Sydney.
“The overseas companies are designing mounts and lifters for a global market. They have the systems and the R&D budgets to deliver a superior product to the locally developed products which primarily are designed and manufactured in small engineering shops. They are poorly packaged and poorly marketed, ” said a leading Sydney CEDIA member.
Agreeing with this sentiment Len Wallis said, “The market is changing; consumers want slimline cosmetically appealing lifters and mounts. Brands like Ultralift are coming under pressure and we have spoken to them about their products some weeks ago. They are well aware of the pressure they are under. There is a big difference in appeal between a mechanical mount designed by a local manufacturer and some of the new mounts now being sold by companies like Vogel and Omnimount and others. At the recent CEDIA show in the US we saw some stunning new mounts from the likes of CLOX, Vogel and Omnimount.”
A big problem for the local manufacturers is that they are primarily engineering companies with little if any core marketing skill. So when they come up against overseas Companies with big budgets and slick advertising they suffer. Another problem is market size and their lack of export revenue. As one reseller said “Unfortunately Australian manufacturers tend to think locally. US and European manufacturers always think and sell globally. It is purely a mentality issue”.
While local mount manufacturers managed to grow a business during the early days of the automation boom they now have to compete with smart imports that are moving into what is now seen as a growth category.
Alex McInnes the Managing Director of Convoy, the distributor of Omnimount brand in Australia, said, “Mounts and lifters have been a sleeper category. They are now a key category. Local mounts made in engineering shops are finished poorly and come in poor packaging. This is hurting them,” he said.
James Billington of Smart Home Solutions said, “Any number of people are now trying to get into the local mount market. The local manufacturers have to realise that Australia is smaller than the State of Texas so it is easy for overseas companies to walk into this market and sell a superior product. Anyone who does not believe that cosmetics and appeal are important will fall flat on their face as market demand grows. Today mounts have to be architecturally appealing and design friendly”.
A Melbourne based CEDIA member said “We use to buy mounts from several local manufacturers however of late all our recommendations are imported mounts. They are easier to sell to a customer as they come with great documentation and present well”.
Nick Papas, Director at Sydney based Audio Solutions said “We use Screen Technics for one reason. When it goes wrong they are there. They are local and that counts. However we are seeing more and more imported mounts hitting the market and what we are finding is that unlike a lot of local manufacturers, the products are well produced the brackets line up and the products are easy to install”.