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Truckstop Trends in Consumer Electronics and General Merchandise

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail, Technology


/// Guest post by contributor Joe Ceravalo, DAS Companies, Inc.

Like 2013, this year has been a continuation of many strong trends within both the consumer electronics and general merchandise industries. In consumer electronics, key growth categories has been portable navigation, wireless accessories/bluetooth, headphones, satellite radio/TV, and digital imaging. For general merchandise, key growth categories have been chemicals, clothing, and gloves.

Portable navigation or GPS once again has grown 19.4% year over year in units for 2014. Both trucker specific and car/auto grade sub categories fueled this growth with trucker specific units producing 20.1% unit growth year over year and car/auto specific units producing 18.5% unit growth year over year. GPS continues to represent the largest hardware category in consumer electronics for the travel plazas. We expect continued growth to occur in 2015 with new models coming from key partners in the industry.

Wireless accessories is the largest accessory category within the general market and this is also the case for the travel plaza industry. The category has seen significant growth of 79.1% unit growth year over year in 2014. Key initiatives with new product launches and additions of counter top merchandising solutions have fueled this tremendous growth. We believe continued growth will occur in 2015 as there are now 143 million smart phones in use in the U.S., and 71 million tablets. 91% of U.S. adults now own a mobile phone. 61% of those are smartphones. Bluetooth grew 14% year over year in units.

The headphone category has also benefited from the smartphone adoption in the US. As more and more phones are now used for entertainment from music to video, headphones from entry level to higher price points have grown. Although not the huge growth in 2014 headphones are up 14.4% in unit’s year over year. Along with this growth in units, we have seen ASP’s continue to rise as the customer is willing to invest in higher quality units from sound quality to design.

100% of growth in digital imaging is from the action camera and dashcam business. Although modest unit growth the revenues have significant increases from higher ASP within the market. Both Satellite TV and Radio combined represented a 28.3% increase in unit’s year over year. New models from SXM responded well in the plazas this year driving most of the unit increase while satellite TV has been driven through the Tailgater from King Controls and the Wineguard Pathways X1 bundle.

Chemicals obviously had a great year last winter but showed strong sales through summer also. This highly seasonal category was the largest growth category in general merchandise with a 44.4% growth year over year in units. The forecast for winter of 2014/15 is supposed to be similar to worse than last year.

Clothing and gloves represented a 36.4% growth in unit’s year over year collectively.  

{Guest Post} Guest post provided by NATSO Chairman's Circle member DAS Companies, Inc. DAS Companies, Inc. is a full service marketing and global supply chain portfolio company based in Palmyra, PA.  Privately-held, DAS Companies, Inc., designs, imports, and distributes automotive accessories, travel merchandise, and mobile electronics that add safety, convenience, comfort and leisure to on-the-go consumers, through a series of channel partnerships including Travel Centers, Heavy Duty Trucking Centers, and Electronics & Specialty Retailers. 

The opinions and advice given by guest post contributors are not necessarily those of NATSO Inc. The posts should not be considered legal advice. Qualified professionals should be sought regarding advice and questions specific to your circumstances.

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About the Author

Joe Ceravalo

Joe Ceravalo

Joe Ceravalo direct the Category Management and Inventory Management Team at DAS.  He is responsible for seeking, researching, developing, and purchasing new products and technology platforms within DAS for all channels of business including the travel center industry.

Ceravalo has been with DAS for four years.  Prior experience includes 20 plus years in retail working specifically in the consumer electronics industry with RadioShack, CompUSA, and Circuit City.  Past experience includes directing teams within product development, purchasing, marketing, supply chain management, strategic alliance management, and operations.