Monitor and television vendor Hannspree is now looking at branching out into branded mini notebooks. Andrew
Wooden talks to Martin Kent, territory manager for the UK and Northern Europe, and Simon Wren, UK sales manager…
Would you say Hannspree is very different now compared to when it first started?
MK: We've certainly grown on a global scale. For example, 2008 saw Hannspree introduce a new European managing director, Lukas Chong, and in early 2009 new European offices opened in Germany to create a central hub for the European community. But our company philosophy will always remain the same.
Technological improvements, which drive the market forward, change our market propositions but not our strategy. Consumer trends such as gaming and media centres have blurred the separation between information technology and consumer electronics, and the growing importance of digital content in consumer electronics has resulted in a fine line between the definition of a TV and a monitor, which has allowed us to increase our company's share in each market.
Both the HANNSG and Hannspree brands have a number of new products coming to market this year, including large-screen TVs up to 55-inches and a range of stylish TFT monitors including a new 25-inch monitor. We are the only company to manufacture this monitor size, demonstrating our manufacturing capabilities and confidence in the market.
Change allows us to invest in new product areas, which will consequently be our driving force this year.
With desktop sales in decline, is the monitor market under any pressure?
SW: The undeniable truth is that some brands have disappeared over the past six months and there are likely to be more to follow, which will unfortunately affect consumer choice. However, despite this bad news the TFT monitor market is as buoyant as it ever has been. Fewer players in the market means that the focus will be put onto improved quality standards.
With gamers and the constant release of new quality games being one of the many market trends fuelling the monitor market, high quality, largersized monitors, which of course improve gaming pleasure, will be volume sellers. The decline in PC sales actually aids not hinders the monitor market.
As laptop/mini notebook sales increase, due to the advantages of size and portability, more consumers are upgrading their home PC monitors – again, to larger, higher quality monitors which can also double up as office TVs and multimedia entertainment stations.
What benefits are there for retailers stocking monitors in the current climate?
SW: The aforementioned market trends also bring benefits to retailers stocking monitors in the current climate. It is tough for retailers and manufacturers, but it is subsequently fuelling an increase in panel costs which has resulted in existing inventory being priced at an all-time low.
These low prices will hopefully help retailers to come through profitable on the other side with a great opportunity to make larger margins. This is also true of inventory being moved around from some of the less successful manufacturers this year.
What are your plans for the next year or so?
SW: Throughout 2009 Hannspree will continue to support and sponsor the World Superbike series, which we believe demonstrates our commitment to marketing spend. Our partners enjoy the hospitality days we hold with our sponsorship.
We hope to focus on further marketing support for our partners this year in addition to the support our dedicated UK sales team already provides. For two years running we have been finalists in the Sales Team Home category of PC Retail's annual industry awards and we hope to continue this level of service this year.
Any plans for expanding into new territories/product areas?
SW: Moving forward, expansion is key and Hannspree has plans to enter new territories, having recently appointed two new sales managers in Spain and Russia.
In addition to our traditional monitor and TV markets, in 2008 we entered the digital photo frame market with a seven-inch offering. We will complete the range with new eight-inch and ten-inch solutions, which is a logical business decision considering our parent company's manufacturing capabilities. Hannstar is the biggest producer of small size panels, the main applications being digital photo frames, sat nav hardware and the recent rapidly growing market of mini notebooks.
We can exclusively reveal to PCR that Hannspree is preparing for the imminent launch of a range of Hannspree-branded Mini Notebooks. It is an exciting time for us, as well as challenging, as this will be the first step into a new market which is already extremely competitive. But as always our products promise to offer customers unique features and individuality.
General features will include ten-inch high quality displays, 160GB HDDs and Windows XP. I can't give too much away, but we are taking retail enquiries now for the official launch, which is just around the corner on our roadmap. Watch this space.