Entertainment vendors keep in step with changing needs, demands of consumers
Heath E. Combs -- Furniture Today, October 29, 2012
HIGH POINT - The home entertainment category continued to act like a chameleon at the High Point Market.
What's hot in sizing, finish or paint seems to adjust every other year or so. Those changes continue as consumers buy new televisions or move to less - or more - spacious homes.
At the market here, taller entertainment walls saw an uptick at Riverside. Slimmer units got looks at BDI, while floating consoles drew attention at West Port Home. Twotone looks were hot at AP Inds. and white did well for Legends Furniture.
BDI marketing specialist Dave Adams said the company had success with the Sonda group, which hits a lower price point, at $999, than what the company usually offers, starting at around $1,499 for media units. The group features a micro-etched, fingerprint-resistant glass, natural walnut shelving and powder-coated black frame.
BDI also saw movement here with 18-inch-deep profiles, which are four inches shallower than its home entertainments groups have been, but which is becoming a more common size as media components get thinner, Adams said.
And he said the company's Ola group, with a curved concave front, continues to sell.
"They love the curved profile," Adams said. "People are looking for something outside of the, ‘Here's a box to put your TV onto.'"
Ken Loh, vice president of sales for AP Inds., said he saw a big increase in requests for two-tone effects, like white doors in a wood tone case. And retailers continued to demand more functionality, he said.
At West Port Home, retailers liked the new manual-lift, counterbalanced mechanisms to help the consumer pull up a flat-screen TV from the footboards of beds, according to Gene Head, vice president of merchandising and design. A queen-size bed can hold up to a 32-inch screen.
West Port has three of the beds with price points hitting $599, Head said, bringing the feature to a mass market. A motorized unit would be more expensive.
"Our stuff is so different that sometimes it takes a little while to catch on," he said.
Legends Furniture reported success here with the color white, especially in its Loft group, according to Tim Donk, director of marketing. The white Loft groups in an entertainment wall range from $799 to $999.
"I'm surprised at how many people have bought it," Donk said. "We haven't had white in years. It's fresh and different."
He said the company also did well with media fireplaces, of which the company has 19 units.
Riverside scored with its canvas Bon Voyage and worn buckskin leather Latitudes consoles, said Mike Charlton, senior vice president of product development and merchandising. The groups took the look of trunks with straps and buckles, but are consoles that feature media and gaming storage.
"People just don't expect to see this here. It's just fun," Charlton said.
Also coming back at Riverside were taller entertainment walls at 82 to more than 84 inches, he said.
"We've had a lot of requests for them with the economy improving and people spending a little more on something taller for 12-to 14-foot ceilings," he said, adding that the company's Placid Cove group in a rub-through white got attention in a $1,999 wall configuration.