Longer consoles sell in entertainment at High Point Market
Heath E. Combs -- Furniture Today, April 23, 2013
HIGH POINT - Home entertainment consoles at the High Point Market are following the words of basketball legends Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Larry Bird on that AT&T television commercial. Bigger is better.
While just a few markets ago 70 inches wide might have been considered the big daddy of entertainment consoles, it's just the beginning of four new console stacks in Legends Furniture's American Pride collection, which also has pieces at 75, 85 and 95 inches.
According to President Rick Schmidgall, sales of 70- to 80-inch televisions have jumped.
While the company aimed to address some of that need in Las Vegas with long, lower sitting consoles because of the old rule about where the best view of the television was from a sofa, Schmidgall said today's large high-definition televisions don't make it necessary to follow that rule.
Consumers are comfortable with regular console heights, he said.
Lance Ferguson, eastern regional sales manager for Walker Edison, said it his company is getting good response here to product for larger televisions. Winners include 70-inch television stands that are UPS-able, finished on all sides and can ship flat packed.
Additionally, the company has more than six stands that are 60 inches and can drop ship, Ferguson said.
Walker Edison also reports success with its Mighty Pak box, designed to keep products from being damaged in transit. One big reason the packaging is so crucial, he said, is because customers' online feedback is so important to sales, and the company wants credit for packing items right.
"The review starts early," Ferguson said, adding, "With online, the review is everything."
At West Port Home, Gene Head, vice president of merchandising, has again come up with a well-received concept that addresses a common problem for thinner televisions. Often, Head said, furniture companies can't make consoles and piers as shallow in depth as they would like because cable boxes still require a deep console.
Typically, side piers are about three inches shorter than the center console so that visually they don't appear to be awkwardly sticking out, he said. The company's new telescoping box inside the console's components cavity shifts back - like an RV's sides can expand - making more room behind the unit to fit the box.
According to Albert Lin, president of West Port, that can result in a 15% to 20% space savings on containers, adding up to significant price savings.
At Twin-Star, a big message from retailers - many of whom also sell electronics - is that they're weeding out floors and focusing on units that accommodate the electronics they are selling, like Blu-ray players and sound bars, according to Brian Brigham, director of marketing and public relations.
That's something the company has been well-equipped to do, since many of its units already cater to that technology with features like removable magnetic fronts in consoles, sound bar holes, and media units that cater to iPods and sound bars but that also upsell fireplace units, beverage coolers or built-in sound bars, Brigham said.
Aspenhome is getting attention at market for finishes on its 54- to 65-inch televisions consoles with price points ranging from $499 to $799 and walls from $1,499 to $1,799. Bryan Edwards, vice president of sales, said that wall units are continuing to bounce back in the entertainment category.
"They accommodate more popular size televisions," Edwards said. "Consoles became more of a commodity and race to the bottom. Now people are looking up. But walls improve the lifestyle feel of the rooms."
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