Inside track interview: Vogel’s

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“In 2011, the independent channel had a 13% share of the television market (by volume) and only a 8% share of the bracket market. If the independent trade had the same market share of brackets as televisions it would generate £10 million more at retail. Currently the independent channel gives this £10 million away to mass merchants”

“Get your piece of pie before it’s too late,” calls James Attfield, Vogel’s country manger in the UK, arguing that the independent is missing a huge opportunity presented by the bracket market, which is still relatively free of the online price pressures. Anna Ryland reports.

Vogel’s is in good shape confirms James Attfield. “The company continues to grow – both globally and in the UK. At IFA we showcased our Ringo products – support mounts for the iPad – with which we respond to the popularity of the iPad and different ways of using it.

“For a while we have been bringing more lifestyle and emotion to the bracket category. It is a very low interest category since the products go behind the TV panel.  Last year we introduced ‘The expanding experiences’ brand promise together with many lifestyle elements to our products and packaging. For example our packaging now features QR codes that lead to the video showing what the product does and how it can be installed. The packaging also contains suggestions where a particular bracket could be installed in the home.

“Our products fit very well into the new area of revenue for retailers – the installation market. However the real difference for the category will take place when more people will wall mount their televisions – at the moment only between 10% and 15% of customers are doing this. The support and involvement of independent retailers is paramount for bringing about this change.

“When people put TV on the wall they liberate a lot of space in their rooms, especially now when space is becoming a premium. In continental Europe this has been accepted and in Germany, for example, 95% of new TVs are mounted, with a similar proportion being wall mounted in Holland, Belgium and in the Scandinavian countries.

“Many products, such as cars, or even meals, come with various accessories (McDonald’s burger is usually sold with fries) and it’s up to the sales staff to ask  customers whether they wish to purchase them. I’d love to see retailers selling televisions asking their customers: ‘Where will you be placing it sir/madam? Would you like to mount it on the wall?”

“Our research indicates that almost everybody likes the idea of wall mounting their televisions. The company’s records also show that when retailers take on Vogel’s products they are successful selling them. GfK figures for Europe show that Vogel’s has all ten top selling SKUs by value in Europe. The top one, the THIN 345, the fully articulated model, sells four times more than the next one.

“We will continue making excellent brackets and meet the needs of tablets owners with related products, and we will be exploring new opportunities in such products categories like soundbars and subwoofers. We have also launched at IFA a white version of our THIN 345 and 245 models, addressing lifestyle considerations. However, what we need to do now is to communicate to everyone how important this product category is and persuade independents to take it up seriously as a revenue stream.

“Only between 5% and 10% of bracket sales are done online; and in the key periods like Christmas internet sales account for only 5%, because people want to touch and examine the product. This is why high street retailers should recognize the opportunity presented by this category before it will go the same way as many CE products.”

Increasingly larger and thinner televisions are good news for the mounts market and its retailers. “Some of our products, such as Flat model 315 and TILT 1315 model,  are now able to hold up to 80in panels.  The articulating products, the 325 and 145 models, now go up to 65in and soon we will have models in this category able to support 80in products. This shows that we are prepared for this market and are responding to customers increasing willing to mount large panels. This is also the message that Big Red Sales will be spreading in the independent channel during the period leading to Christmas.

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